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New AURI chair passionate about agriculture’s future

The role of AURI board chair is a natural fit for Ron Obermoller, who was elected to the position on January 19. A lifelong farmer, with a background in animal science and agronomy, he has been passionate about ag research since a young age. “You’re creating the future,” says Obermoller, whose 800-acre farm has been in his family for 100 years.

Obermoller has served in leadership positions with Minnesota Corn Growers and Minnesota Soybean Growers over the past 20 years. He has worked closely with the National Corn Growers and was a founding board member of Minnesota Soybean Processors.

“I’ve always been on the research committees. That’s my niche,” says Obermoller, who says he is proud of AURI’s agricultural research and innovation work and its growing role in Minnesota.

“We need to further develop the technologies, get it into the farmers’ hands and make it usable,” he says. “I look at AURI with the years of experience and the contacts we have, and we’re a fantastic resource.”

Obermoller says he is excited about continuing to expand AURI scientists’ innovative work. “There are a lot of ideas out there … some really wild ideas pan out and sometimes they don’t. But we need those original thinkers, and we need people like the staff at AURI who explore these ideas and tell us what’s economical and what’s feasible.”

Collaboration between commodity groups and AURI is critical to agriculture’s future, Obermoller says. “The checkoff and growers groups have the contacts with the farmers, and AURI scientists have contacts with industry and science-based experts. We want to draw on everyone’s expertise, and I’m hoping everyone can benefit from the collaboration.”

Obermoller says he wants to help spread the word about AURI’s value to Minnesota. For example, he says in the past two years AURI has:

  • helped bring more than $123 million in capital investment to Minnesota
  • leveraged nearly $2.5 million in outside funds for projects
  • brought 143 new or improved ag-based products
    to market
  • assisted in developing more than 325 unique projects and initiatives

Obermoller concludes: “It all comes back to helping the
rural economy.”