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AURI Success Stories

Faribault Mills corn blankets to be featured on PBS

Faribault Mills and its new Ingeo corn-based fibers will be featured on the popular PBS children’s show Reading Rainbow later this year. The segment, to be televised nationwide, includes video produced by Dan Lemke, AURI communications director.

Faribault Mills is the last woolen mill in the country to process raw wool into finished products. It produces wool blankets for catalogers such as Lands End and Eddie Bauer, and retailers such as Marshall Fields, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Saks. Early this year, Faribault Mills started weaving blankets and throws made from Ingeo, a fiber developed by Cargill Dow from corn polylactic acid.

Central Minnesota company patents disposable hog mats

USA Solutions of St. Cloud, Minn., has patented a biodegradable mat for hog-farrowing facilities that is made from crop residues such as corn stover and other agricultural coproducts. Bio Mat prevents drafts in farrowing crates and provides young pigs a soft place to lay and feed. Many producers currently use rubber mats, which need to be cleaned and disinfected between uses. The disposable Bio Mat is used for a week to 10 days, then composted.

The company is fine-tuning the mat before it’s introduced to stores this fall. “We’re going to do some evaluation in test barns to make sure we’re happy with what we have,” says USA Solutions President Tony Schmitt.

Alan Doering, AURI technical services specialist, helped connect USA Solutions with a Minnesota manufacturer to test different product formulations and adhesives.

There already is interest in the Bio Mat because there are producers out there who know about the product and want it,” Doering says. Suppliers are also expressing interest, he adds. Because it is made from low-value raw materials, Bio Mat is cost competitive with rubber mats.