Ag Innovator of the Year

For more than a decade, AURI has recognized those businesses and small entrepreneurs who have excelled in innovation with its Ag Innovator of the Year Award.


Pierz Company Chosen for Annual AURI Award: A Sunny Future for Smude Oil

The path to commercial success is rarely linear. Instead, it’s often chock full of twists, turns and unexpected challenges, something to which Tom and Jenni Smude can likely attest. The Smudes, who own Smude Enterprises, makers of Smude’s Sunflower Oil, have turned necessity into a thriving business that is being recognized as AURI’s 2018 Ag… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

AURI Names Chippewa Valley Ethanol Coop Ag Innovator of the Year

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), named The Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) of Benson, Minn., its 2017 Ag Innovator of the Year. The award, which has been given annually for the past 15 years, will be accepted by CVEC Board Chair, David Thompson and General Manager Chad Friese at the company’s Board meeting on… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

Massoud Kazemzadeh kays naturals holding box of cereal

AURI Names Kay's Naturals as 2016 Ag Innovator of the Year

Each year for more than a decade, the AURI Board of Directors bestows the Ag Innovator of the Year Award, its highest honor, on the client company or entrepreneur it feels created a major impact in the areas of product innovation, uniqueness and commercialization potential. This year AURI was pleased to name Kay's Naturals as the Ag Innovator of the Year.

2015 Ag Innovator of the year: EarthClean Corporation

The EarthClean Corporation is being honored in 2014 for their work in creating an environmentally friendly fire suppressant using corn and soybeans. The company creates TetraKO, a biodegradable water enhancer that changes plain water into an adhering gel that knocks down fires faster than water or foam—without harming the environment or wildlife. TetraKO also increases… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

2013 Ag Innovator of the year: Protein Resources, LLC

Soybean meal, while an excellent animal feed, still can’t be fed to a whole range of animals as soluble sugars in soybean meal are very disruptive to the digestive tract of baby pigs and carnivorous fish, in particular. That’s where Protein Resources, LLC, saw an opportunity to innovate and provide a feed ingredient that the… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

BioPlastic Solutions Named Ag Innovator of the Year

Bio-Plastic Solutions, a Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, company, was named Ag Innovator of the Year by the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI). The Ag Innovator Award is a recognition AURI began in 2002 to honor clients who have contributed to the economy and helped grow value-added agriculture in Minnesota by creating new products or processes using… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

2011 Ag Innovator of the Year: North American Fertilizer

FibroMinn burns about 700,000 tons of poultry litter collected from local farmers to produce 55 megawatts of power. The ash from the plant travels a 500-foot conveyer over to North American Fertilizer. Once there, North American Fertilizer takes the ash—which already contains a rich, well-balanced package of macro and micro nutrients—and processes it into fertilizer.… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

2010 Ag Innovator of the Year: Suntava

Twin Cities-based Suntava regards its proprietary hybrids of purple corn as a treasure trove of healthful food ingredients, from a natural red colorant, to milled components for everything from snack bars to cereals. The company also has plans to announce a groundbreaking neutraceutical. “The key ingredient in our purple corn is anthocyanin, which is both… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

2009 Ag Innovator of the Year: Alternative Energy Solutions

Diversification is clearly a deeply held value at the Kreidermacher Farm in Altura, Minnesota. The farm is home to a heritage hog operation, a greenhouse/nursery retail company and a biomass energy pellet manufacturer. AURI recognized the pellet business, Alternative Energy Solutions, for being a pioneer in renewable home and commercial heating. Owned by siblings Eric,… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

2008 Ag Innovator of the Year: Northern Excellence Seed

Grass grows well in northwestern Minnesota. Being a turf seed producer like Northern Excellence Seed still means being choosy, though. It rejects about 20 percent of the seeds coming through its plant for conditioning. Instead of treating this biomass as waste, Northern Excellence became excited by the promise of biomass gasification as a form of… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

2007 Ag Innovator of the Year: USA Solutions

“I was in the hog business for 25 years before launching USA Solutions,” remembers Darryl Metcalfe. “No matter how hard you tried you couldn’t get the rubber mats clean enough, and it caused health issues. I was working with the veterinarians one day, and they commented that the industry could really use a disposable mat… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

2006 Ag Innovator of the Year: FUMPA BioFuels

FUMPA BioFuels (part of Farmers Union Industries) was one of the pioneers of Minnesota’s biodiesel industry. Organizers began the process of setting up the plant and getting all the necessary certifications in order to help launch Minnesota’s 2 percent biodiesel mandate in 2005. “The Minnesota Legislature had passed a 2 percent biodiesel requirement for all… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

2005 Ag Innovator of the Year: SoyMor

In 2005, SoyMor opened as the nation’s largest biodiesel manufacturing facility and the second to be built in Minnesota. The refinery has the capability to produce 30 million gallons of biodiesel per year from soybean oil, processing 3,150 gallons per day from 1,700 acres worth of soybeans — for an annual total of about 18… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

2004 Ag Innovator of the Year: Minnesota Soybean Processors

The farmers who formed the board of Minnesota Soybean Processors (MnSP) in Brewster in 1999 immediately joined an effort to convince the Minnesota legislature to support a new, greener form of fuel called biodiesel. It’s now a 63-million gallon a year industry in the state. MnSP is a cooperative owned by 2,400 farmer-members. It has… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

2003 Ag Innovator of the Year: Mississippi Topsoils

What’s better than turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse? How about turning chicken processing plant waste into rich garden soil? Mississippi Topsoils, located in Cold Spring, Minnesota, takes the protein-filled waste—a substance called secondary activated biosolids—from GNP Company, makers of Gold’n Plump Chicken, and turns it into a consistent, high-performing soil amendment marketed… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year

2002 Ag Innovator of the year: Pet Care Systems

Swheat Scoop, a renewably-sourced cat litter, was initially made by Pet Care Systems—now part of Farmers Union Industries. “Our product is all natural, because it’s 100 percent wheat,” says Tom Moses, director of operations for Pet Care Systems, located in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. “The natural side of the market is growing, and we’re positioned to… Read More »Ag Innovator of the Year