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News Briefs

Mexico trip means turkey business

Marshall, Minn. — A business development mission to Mexico may yield new markets for at least one Minnesota company.

Carl Wittenburg, representing Northern Pride, a turkey processing co-op, joined AURI animal products scientist Darrell Bartholomew on a trade mission to Mexico in October. Both were sponsored by AURI and the Minnesota Research and Promotion Council. The mission, which included Governor Jesse Ventura, aimed to build relationships with potential trading partners in Mexico.

Northern Pride, in Thief River Falls, processes 15,000 birds a day. Mexico has two producers that slaughter only two million birds per year, creating a market opportunity for Minnesota.

“This was a productive trip in developing contacts for exporting both turkey and pork,” Bartholomew says. “We were able to make valuable contacts with business officials there who are interested in importing turkey products, and in visiting processors here in Minnesota.”

Agricultural exports to Mexico have grown an average of 12 percent annually since 1995. Mexico is currently the United States’ second largest trading partner and is expected to be number one by 2010.

Editor is Emmy nominee

Ag Innovation News managing editor Cindy Green was recently nominated for an Emmy by the Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She was nominated for writing “Country Spires,” a three-part television documentary that explores the history, architecture and destiny of immigrant-built rural churches of the Upper Midwest. The series has been airing on public television stations across the United States since its release last May by Pioneer Public Television in Appleton, Minn.

We at AURI congratulate Green on her fine work for the “Country Spires” series and for the continued efforts given to Ag Innovation News.

And the winner is…

Benson, Minn. has been selected as the site for a new poultry litter power plant by Fibrominn, an American subsidiary of the British company Fibrowatt. Benson was among more than 30 proposed sites for Fibrominn’s $75 million facility. The plant will generate 50 megawatts of power by burning manure from the region’s turkey barns.

Company officials estimate the plant will create 30 on-site jobs, dozens of spin-off jobs, and $8 to 10 million in local economic impact. The Benson facility, expected to be operational by 2002, will be the first and only litter-powered plant in the United States and the largest in the world. Fibrowatt, the pioneer of poultry litter power generation, operates three plants in Great Britain.

Sleepytime wool

Harmony, Minn. — Instead of counting sheep, one Minnesota company uses its wool for a comfortable night’s sleep.

High Pointe Coverings recently began manufacturing and marketing wool mattresses and pillows. “Many who’ve tried our products — and were skeptical at first — have commented that they’ve never had such a good night’s sleep,” says Lloyd Peterson, High Pointe Coverings vice president. He says wool absorbs moisture and humidity on warm summer nights and insulates body heat during the winter.

Unlike other mattresses, which may include a thin layer of wool on top, High Pointe’s mattresses are 4 to 5 inches thick and can be placed on top of an existing mattress. Mattresses come in single, full, queen and king size, or can be made to order.

For more information, contact High Pointe Coverings at (507) 886-2864.

Ag Innovation News team gets together

The Ag Innovation News team and AURI program specialists met this fall in Stillwater, Minn., to critique and generate ideas for the quarterly publication now in its 10th year. Left to right, back row are: Greg Booth, Charles Smith-Dewey, Dan Lemke, Kai Bjerkness, Joan Olson, Nancy Larson and Rolf Hagberg. Front row: Jody Koubsky, Lane Loeslie, Liz Morrison, Cindy Green, Mardell Jacobson and Deborah Hoeldtke.