Establishment.The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute is established as a nonprofit corporation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute shall conduct onsite and applied research, promote the establishment of new products and product uses and the expansion of existing markets for the state's agricultural commodities and products, including direct financial and technical assistance for Minnesota entrepreneurs. The institute must establish or maintain facilities and work with private and public entities to leverage the resources available to achieve maximum results for Minnesota agriculture.
Here in our remote mountain village nestled among the verdant organic coffee plantations of Chippewa County, we swear we heard hardworking coffee farmer neighbors cheering at testimony given Thursday during the joint meeting of the Minnesota House Ag Policy and Ag Finance Committees and streamed live online.
What prompted the dancing in the snowy fields from Maynard to Montevideo?
It's the research that's helping that nice young man who left what the Star Tribune described as a "hectic globe-trotting job as an agricultural commodities trader" to toil in the coffee fields of Faribault.
The Session Daily's Jonathan Mohr reports in Agriculture organization helps ideas become realities:
If you have an idea for a new ag-related product or business you would like to bring to market, but don’t have the expertise to make it happen, Minnesota’s Agricultural Utilization Research Institute may be able to lend a hand.
James Curren found that out not long ago when he began trying to create value from the byproducts generated during the roasting process at Javacycle – the small fair trade organic coffee business he founded in Fairbault. Curren shared his story at a joint hearing the House Agriculture Finance and Policy committees Thursday, where the work of AURI was the first item on the agenda.
Although he knew the chaff produced after the beans are roasted had potential as fertilizer, Curren did not have the technical expertise to turn what had been a waste product into a new opportunity for sales and growth. Then he heard about an organization that could help.
“AURI very quickly just connected those dots and within a fairly short period of time we were in the lab testing,” Curren said. “This was just way beyond anything that was in my scope or capacity, and as a small business owner, AURI was critical at getting me to the point where now I’ve got product on the shelf.”
AURI was created by the Legislature in the 1980s during troubled economic times for farmers who faced high interest rates and low commodity prices. Its mission was to add value to the state’s agricultural products. That mission continues today. . . .
Is it any wonder that the humble coffee farmers on the fertile slopes of the Red River Valley found their coffee just a little bolder today?
Some other guy talked about soybean feed research for baby pig and fish food, but the response of area soybean growers seems to have been far more stoic.
Photo: The coffee plantation lovingly tended by our dear friend Johann Valdesen. We do enjoy a good coffee, and hope that some day those tiny bags of organic coffee chaff fertilizer might be scaled up so that the product might be used at larger farms of a couple of acres or more.
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