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AURI announces new board directors

The board of directors of the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute welcomed two new directors at its regularly scheduled February meeting. The new directors are:

wRHP4242John Schafer
Minnesota Beef Council

Schafer raises Hereford cattle and crops in Buffalo Lake, Minnesota. “I’m honored to be elected to serve on AURI’s board of directors. AURI’s resources are vital to nurturing rural Minnesota’s future economic growth. I look forward to doing what I can to help AURI fulfill its mission,” said Schafer.


Jill Zullo, Ph.D.

Zullo is the technical director for corn milling at Cargill. Her responsibilities include: leading the development and execution of the technology strategy across corn milling product lines, managing and coordinating the technology enabled project portfolio including both high performance and customer-focused innovation projects, and providing functional leadership for corn milling technical talent to build a high performing technical organization. Zullo graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in biology and received her Ph.D. in Food Technology from Iowa State University.


wRHP4220Art Brandli
Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council

Brandli has chaired several boards throughout Minnesota including a university advisory board, a local supply cooperative board, a statewide farm marketing cooperative board, the Wheat Research and Promotion Council, and a regional foundation. In addition, he chaired the national Wheat Foods Council and served on the U.S. Wheat Associates board. He also serves on a multi-state biotechnology board.

“I am impressed with the quantity and quality of support that AURI provides to stakeholders. AURI is a unique organization, staffed with highly talented individuals and a dedicated board. As a director, I appreciate the continuing challenge to help create value-added products for Minnesota agriculture,” said Brandli.

John_Gilbertson2539John Gilbertson, Vice Chair
Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation

Gilbertson is from Puposky, Minnesota. Today, he, his son and grandchildren operate a cow-calf and backgrounding Angus herd.

“I wanted to serve on the AURI board because of who AURI’S clients are. I believe it is so important in this day and age to have an organization that works with agricultural entrepreneurs. I am excited about the changes that will be taking place because of consumer demands and the new opportunities they will create for agriculture,” said Gilbertson.

John_Goihl2532John Goihl, Secretary/Treasurer

For more than 40 years, John Goihl has been a nutritionist and owner/president of Agri-Nutrition Services, a direct service company serving feed manufacturers, larger livestock producers, ranchers, and vendors to the feed and livestock industry. He also does nutritional consulting throughout the U.S. and world.

“Applied research has been part of my career interest since I was a 4-H and FFA member,” said Goihl. “Using basic and applied nutrition research results and applying them to livestock production is part of being a livestock nutritionist. When the opportunity came along to represent agribusiness in Minnesota on the AURI board, I could visualize AURI being that vehicle to continue my interest in research and to assist different agriculture-related enterprises and/or small businesses in
rural Minnesota.”

Tkd_9799_3x5Jerry Hasnedl
Minnesota Farmers Union

Hasnedl, a member of the Minnesota Farmers Union, resides on his 3,200 acre family farm in St. Hilaire, Minnesota. Hasnedl earned his degree in agricultural economics from Northland Community College before serving in the U.S. Air Force. He served on the CHS (formerly Harvest States) Board of Directors from 1995-2014.

Hasnedl says, “In the short period of time that I have served on the board, I have been very impressed with the professionalism and passion of AURI employees. My assessment is confirmed every time an AURI client as they express or reflect on what AURI means to them and how we have played an important role in their business. As AURI helps these clients grow, we continue to fulfill our mission.”

Kiel_official_01B Rep. Debra Kiel
Minnesota House of Representatives

Kiel was born and raised on the family farm, south of Crookston, Minnesota. Along with her husband, Lonn, they own and operate a wheat, soybean and sugar beet farm in Hammond Township. Rep. Kiel is currently serving her third term in the Minnesota House of Representatives. She is the Vice Chair of the Agriculture Finance Committee and also serves on the Aging and Long-Term Care Policy, Greater Minnesota Economic and Workforce Development Policy, and the Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy committees.

Kiel stated, “What has really inspired me is the excitement and possibilities of what AURI can do with byproducts in Minnesota. As a commodity rich state, it’s exciting to see all of the new ideas-from food products to ag-based fire retardants. AURI is helping businesses do their best.”

Ron_Obermoller2544Ron Obermoller, Chair 
Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council

Obermoller is the fourth generation to run his family’s 900-acre corn and soybean farm near Brewster, Minnesota. He is active in the Nobles County Corn and Soybean Growers Associations and is a member of the Minnesota Corn Growers, National Corn Growers and Minnesota Soybean Growers Associations.

Over the years, Obermoller has also held various positions and served on boards with Green Prairie Cooperative, Minnesota Soybean Processors, American Coalition for Ethanol, Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership and the National Biodiesel Board.

“After being on the board, I’ve been impressed with all the different ideas and dreams in Minnesota, and I believe AURI can make a positive difference,” said Obermoller.

Sen._Matt_Schmit Sen. Matt Schmit

Minnesota Senate

Schmit is serving his first term in the Minnesota State Senate, serving District 21. He serves as vice chair of the Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, and serves on the following committees: Capital Investment; Environment and Energy; and Finance–Environment. He earned his MPP from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. from St. John’s University.