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New Uses Forum to Highlight Innovation, Investment in Food and Agriculture April 11

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), Compeer Financial and Georgetown University’s Rural Opportunity Initiative are partnering to present the fifth annual New Uses Forum on April 11, 2023 at the Minneapolis Marriott West hotel.

The theme for this year’s event is Exploring the Intersection of Innovation and Investment in Food and Agriculture. The New Uses Forum brings together some of the most knowledgeable voices in finance, food and agriculture for in-depth discussions and informal knowledge sharing. Organizers are offering an in-person and virtual option this year. To register, learn more information and see a detailed schedule of events, visit the event website.

The forum will feature expert speakers engaging in a number of panel discussions dedicated to exploring the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation, finance and the economy. Highlights of this year’s program include:

Driving Healthy Changes Through Food Panel: This moderated discussion will focus on hot topics such as the impact of processing on the healthfulness of food, the definition of healthy food, the role of nutrient density, and the effectiveness of influencing and incentivizing versus legislating diet change under the overarching premise of how best to nudge consumers towards healthier outcomes.

Panel speakers include: Kristin Duncanson, Duncanson Growers & Highland Family Farms (Moderator); Katherine Paris, UnitedHealthcare; Kevin Miller, Ph.D., General Mills; Mindy Kurzer, Ph.D., UMN Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives.

Current Economy: What it Means for Farmers & Processors Panel: With the current economy impacting industries far and wide, this topic has grown in importance. This session will cover economic conditions, interest rates, inflation, and provide insight into what it means for farmers and processors.

Panel speakers include: Bridget Deering, Compeer Financial (Moderator): Bill Moore, Compeer Financial: Ryan Moe, StoneX Group Inc.; Blaine Nelson, Farmer Mac; David Fiocco, McKinsey & Company.

In addition to the schedule of sessions, participants will have time to interact and share experiences with fellow attendees via networking breaks to advance innovative food and agricultural ideas throughout the conference.

Registration is open for this can’t-miss event to explore trends and needs in innovation and investment, as well as to connect with industry leaders in the ag, food and investment sectors.

The program partners extend their gratitude to the 2023 New Uses Forum sponsors: Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Avisen, Clifton Larson Allen, Gislason & Hunter LLP, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Northern Crops Institute, Minnesota Farmers Union, Hormel Foods, Southwest Initiative Foundation, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Farm Bureau, CoBank, Vanguard Renewables, West Central Initiative, AgriGrowth, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Naturally Minnesota, MBOLD, the Government of Canada, ePac Flexible Packaging and MinnWest Technology Campus.

About AURI
The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute’s mission is to foster long-term economic benefit through value-added agricultural products. It accomplishes this by using science and technology to help develop new uses for agricultural products. It partners with businesses and entrepreneurs to generate economic impact in Minnesota communities by helping businesses take advantage of innovative opportunities in four focus areas: biobased products, renewable energy, coproducts and food. AURI provides a broad range of services, including applied research and development, scientific assistance and a targeted network of resources to develop value-added uses for crops and coproducts.

About Compeer Financial
Compeer Financial is a member-owned Farm Credit cooperative serving and supporting agriculture and rural communities. The $27 billion organization provides loans, leases, risk management and other financial services throughout 144 counties in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Based in the Upper Midwest, Compeer Financial exists to champion the hopes and dreams of rural America, while providing personalized service and expertise to clients and the agricultural industry.  Compeer Financial is one of the largest cooperatives of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of lending institutions supporting agriculture and rural communities with reliable, consistent credit and financial services.

About the Rural Opportunity Initiative Center
The Rural Opportunity Initiative (ROI) aims to serve rural American communities by driving financially and socially-sustainable rural development. It has been well-established that rural businesses lag behind their urban counterparts in terms of venture and early growth capital investment and accessing debt and operating capital. At the same time, private investors are eager to identify and support rural growth opportunities. However, most are not aware of what’s available, and often the deals are misaligned with traditional investment models. The investor experience in U.S. rural communities in some ways mirrors that of impact investors in search of deals overseas in developing regions, where the amount of capital is more robust than the pipeline of deals, and a mismatch exists between the levels and kinds of returns investors seek, and what small and growing businesses can offer.