The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), an innovative nonprofit that fuels economic growth in Minnesota, has announced the appointment of Shannon M. Schlecht as its new Executive Director. Schlecht, who most recently served as Vice President of Policy for U.S. Wheat Associates in Arlington, VA, will officially join the organization in September, when he will assume overall strategic and operational responsibility for the Institute’s staff, programs and execution of its mission.
“We believe Shannon brings the ability, leadership and skills necessary to further AURI’s success. His experience and commitment to build collaborative industry relationships will bring new opportunities for not only our organization, but the state’s economy as well,” observed Ron Obermoller, chairman of the Institute’s Board of Directors.
Schlecht has extensive background in agriculture, policy influence, market development, international trade, strategic planning and management. He served as wheat industry representative to the USDA Secretary of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative for the Grains, Feed, Oilseeds, and Planting Seeds Agricultural Trade Advisory Council, was the liaison to multiple agricultural coalitions, and staff lead for national committees covering trade policy and biotechnology as well as a food aid working group. Internationally, he conducted initiatives to develop U.S. wheat exports in over 40 countries. He holds Bachelor’s and Master of Science degrees from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.
“I believe the broad range of agricultural experiences I bring to this role will help create opportunities for Minnesota agriculture,” said Schlecht. “I look forward to working for this important organization and with AURI’s many partners across the state.”