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portrait of rod Larkins

Strengthening ag research in Minnesota

–by Amanda Wanke

AURI works across Minnesota agriculture to identify the highest-opportunity research needs that will lead to new products and processes using agriculture commodities. Then, staff partner with research organizations to conduct and implement that research in the marketplace. In order to align research needs with the research organizations best prepared to address them, AURI recently partnered with the internationally acclaimed research institute Battelle to conduct a Minnesota Ag Research Capacity Assessment.

As a result of this assessment, Minnesota will benefit through:

  • In-depth knowledge of the resources, strengths and capabilities of Minnesota’s various research organizations and how their capabilities compare with the rest of the nation
  • Integration of highly qualified research teams with high-value ag commercialization program opportunities
  • Improved utilization of Minnesota’s research organizations’ resources for the
    greatest impact
  • Ability to attract significantly more grant funding to the state of Minnesota from national commodity organizations, federal research organizations, foundations and other granting organizations

“The purpose of this study is to identify Minnesota research organizations’ strengths and capacities. Then we can match these capabilities with identified needs and opportunities based on input from ag commodity groups and agribusiness leaders. This approach brings together the best research teams to work on the industry’s top commercialization opportunities,” explains AURI Senior Director of Science & Technology Rod Larkins, who is leading the capacity assessment.

“AURI is committed to helping businesses, entrepreneurs and producers turn their ideas into reality. Research needs to be brought to the marketplace and implemented in order to have economic impact,” explains Larkins. “This project, along with AURI’s commitment to implementation, will help ensure Minnesota has the most effective agriculture research possible.”

The capacity assessment, expected to be completed in summer 2013, is being coordinated by AURI and led by a steering team of representatives from across the state, including Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson; Office of Higher Education Commissioner Larry Pogemiller; and representatives from Minnesota Turkey/Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota, Glenmore Consulting, Fredrickson-Byron, Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, University of Minnesota, MnSCU, Soybean Research & Promotion Council, Farmers Union Industries, USDA Agricultural Research Service and First Green Partners.