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AURI Receives RCDG Grant

Erik Evans
Agricultural Utilization Research Institute


AURI Awarded USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant


January 2018, St Paul, MN—The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) a $200,000 Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) to assist rural businesses and cooperative development during the 2018 calendar year. This is the fourth time since 2010 that AURI has received a RCDG.

The RCDG is a multi-million dollar initiative to help America’s rural communities achieve their potential to create jobs and expand economic opportunities. Many rural businesses and organizations are succeeding under the cooperative business model, and with access to additional resources, they can boost job creation and create an environment where more products are made in rural America.

The announced funding from the USDA will provide funds to support AURI’s mission to foster long-term economic benefit for Minnesota through value-added agricultural products.  Specifically, the grant will advance AURI’s Rural Cooperative Development Center in Minnesota. The Center provides business development, technical assistance, as well as coordination of local and state rural development activities.  In addition, the Development Center will offer due diligence assessments, assist in obtaining funds for research and development activities, conduct technical and economic feasibility analysis, support cooperative development strategies and develop strategic networking opportunities.

The Center offers these services to new or existing rural cooperatives and mutually-owned businesses in the areas of local foods marketing and distribution, coproduct utilization, biobased product development, feed processing, food processing, sustainable crop development and renewable energy. In doing so, the Center advances value-added agricultural opportunities and strengthens ‘Main Street’ businesses.

“The RCDG dollars enhance AURI’s ability to deliver upon its mission,” said AURI’s Executive Director, Shannon Schlecht. “Minnesota’s agriculture industry is critically important to the state’s economy and AURI has been able to deliver valuable services to more than 30 Minnesota businesses through this program in recent years.”

To learn more about AURI, its Rural Cooperative Development Center, or the other services offered to promote Minnesota agricultural commodity use, visit

To learn more about USDA’s RCDG program, visit


About the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute

The Minnesota Legislature created AURI in 1989. Its mission is to foster long-term economic benefit for Minnesota through value-added agricultural products. It does so by developing new uses for agricultural products through science and technology, while collaborating with businesses and entrepreneurs to bring ideas to reality.