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Discussion to Direction

By Shannon Schlecht
AURI Executive Director

In order for AURI to best serve the state, it’s important to have a wide perspective and understanding of the issues facing Minnesota’s agricultural industry. This includes identifying areas of opportunity, gaps in knowledge or services, challenges faced today and potential future constraints, and opportunities for synergy and collaboration. These are all important things to know because they can help identify shared areas of interest that shape AURI’s future endeavors and partnerships.

This is why AURI reaches out to several stakeholder groups every other year to discuss the state of the industry. The process involves AURI staff meeting face-to-face with representatives from agribusinesses, farm organizations, research and promotion councils, government and academia to discuss each organization’s priority issues, emerging innovation opportunities, trends and unique challenges. AURI staff also use these meetings to explore potential ways of collaborating and leveraging resources to foster continued innovation.

These are necessary conversations because it encourages everyone to be open and honest about critical components and issues facing their business and industry and it broadens the conversations to different perspectives and possible solutions.

The end result is an analysis detailing AURI learnings from the stakeholder interviews.
In the past, this included highlighting gaps in knowledge, identifying synergies that could improve industry innovations and setting AURI’s public research initiatives that encompass both the broadest audience of identified needs as well as those that have commercialization opportunities. I expect the upcoming stakeholder analysis will provide similar, useful insights.

Once completed, AURI plans to share themes of the analysis with our stakeholders. In this way, we can continue to work together for the good of innovation throughout the state.

So, with that, I encourage you to participate in this meaningful endeavor if you are contacted by AURI as it could help shape the next big opportunity in value-added agriculture to benefit Minnesota and the agricultural industry.