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The impact of the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute’s Waseca office in the county

Created by the state of Minnesota in 1987, the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute in Waseca is a non-profit research organization.
Updated: Aug. 20, 2020 at 7:42 PM CDT
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WASECA, Minn. (KEYC) - We continue taking a closer look at Waseca County’s agricultural roots with focus on the research and outreach that contributes to the agricultural advancements made there.

Created by the state of Minnesota in 1987, the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute in Waseca is a non-profit research organization.

“Our mission is to foster long term economic benefit to Minnesota through value added products,” said Lisa Gjersvik, Sr. Director of Strategy Management for AURI.

AURI has a focus in four key areas.

“Food, co-products, biobased products and renewable energy and we have laboratories throughout the state of Minnesota where our scientists work to do product development and other testing that’s needed.” said Gjersvik.

AURI works with entrepreneurs, businesses and stakeholders.

“We try to provide scientific technical assistance to those entrepreneurs and businesses who have those ideas, innovative ideas, and develop those products and help bring those ideas to reality,” said Gjersvik.

“And what’s the most rewarding part is seeing it get to the commercialization part where it’s actually on the store shelf and you can say, hey, AURI had a part in doing that,” said Alan Doering, Sr. Scientist of co-products for AURI.

AURI also assists in the process and increasing efficiency.

“There’s various examples of that where we’ve supported local ethanol plants,” said Doering.

“We have a number of different projects that relate to food, feed, fiber and fuel,” said Gjersvik.

Including cover crop efficiency.

“This is actually a collaborative effort with the University of Minnesota and their Forever Green program, they’re working on developing a line of cover crops, so not only can the product or the seed be used as a cover crop but we’re looking at can you press the oil, can we move that oil into a human food use,” said Doering.

AURI is also active in the hemp industry.

“AURI added a ... system that came out of Canada, what that system does is actually intended to process the fiber into various products to be used as linen, we’ve got a project where we’re looking at using hemp fiber as a plastic replacement for erosion control purposes,” said Doering.

The AURI office located in Waseca is beneficial to both AURI and rural Minnesota.

“Keeps the idea of benefitting rural more alive, say if we had a research institute located in the Twin Cities, it wouldn’t feel as real and as beneficial to the rural areas as it does having locations throughout the state,” said Gjersvik.

Other offices are located in Crookston, Marshall and a satellite office on the University of Minnesota, St. Paul campus, though they are not part of the university.

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