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Executive Director’s Column

Teresa SpaethIn March 2001, the Russian space station Mir was expected to make a fiery reentry to earth after orbiting the planet for 15 years. Russian scientists conducted a series of maneuvers to bring the station down away from populated areas and into the South Pacific Ocean.

At the same time, a fast-food company placed a 40-foot-square floating target in the South Pacific waters, promising to give a free taco to everyone in America if Mir hit their floating bullseye.

While it was a clever public relations move, the station did not hit the tiny target. No one really expected it to, but likely thousands were secretly hoping it might. There’s a big difference between hoping something hits the mark and making sure it’s on target.

At AURI, we are experienced at helping value-added ventures hit their marks. Ag product development doesn’t just happen. It takes vision, planning, commitment and follow-through. AURI’s expertise and unique facilities can help Minnesota ventures reach their targets by providing technical assistance, feasibility assessments and network coordination.

But we don’t just work to help others hit their targets — we set a few of our own. Through industry-wide initiatives that hold the potential for large-impact projects, we help identify and even set trends for rural innovation. Each of these proactive projects could yield significant new markets for agricultural products. Not all will result in lucrative opportunities, but some will. We just won’t promise free tacos