Skip to content

Minnesota-based Agricultural Innovations, LLC Named Ag Innovator of the Year

AURI recognizes Winthrop, Minn.-based manufacturer and distributor of organic fertilizers

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) is pleased to announce that Agricultural Innovations, LLC has been named the organization’s 2023 Ag innovator of the Year.

Based in Winthrop, Minn., Agricultural Innovations, LLC was founded by brothers Adam and Michael Asmus. Adam and Michael operate a fifth-generation egg farm with about 550,000 laying hens. The company uses chicken manure from egg production to create high-quality, organic fertilizers, under the High Island Organics brand. The products are virtually odorless and are heat treated to eliminate pathogens. High Island Organics focuses on circular approaches, creating innovative sustainable sourcing methods to create natural products.

AURI started working with Agricultural Innovations, LLC in 2017. AURI worked with the Asmus brothers to find cost effective ways to turn their excess chicken litter into retail fertilizer products. AURI’s coproducts team advised the company on product formulation and performed testing and analysis. That research showed that pelleting the litter made it easier to spread and store as well as more cost effective to ship.

The partnership has led to rapid growth for the High Island Organics brand. Agricultural Innovations, LLC sells their products to community supported agriculture farms, vegetable gardeners and row crops farms. The products are also available at almost 40 retailers throughout Minnesota and in Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. High Island Organics offers an all-purpose fertilizer, a garden vegetable blend, lawn blend and a biochar soil amendment, which utilizes ash from their biomass dryer.

“We want to thank the team at AURI for their support, guidance and partnership. When we started out on this journey, we knew we had a product that was going to be useful, but we needed help reaching consumers. The team at AURI was instrumental in helping us take the next step,” said Adam Ausmus. “We are very grateful for their assistance in helping us realize our goals.”

The AURI Board of Directors awards the Ag Innovator of the Year to a Minnesota company or entrepreneur that the organization has worked with that is making a substantial impact in the areas of product innovation, uniqueness and commercialization potential. Awarded since 2002, it is AURI’s highest honor and recognition of its client portfolio.

“On behalf of AURI, I congratulate Agricultural Innovations, LLC for being named the Ag Innovator of the Year,” said AURI Executive Director Shannon Schlecht. “Their forward-looking vision and innovative approach encapsulate value-added agriculture at its best. The companies that stay relevant are the ones that embrace change and work constantly to meet the evolving market needs. Adam and Michael are great examples of how businesses can take advantage of new market opportunities.”

Adam and Michael Asmus were guests on a recent episode of AURI’s Ag Innovation News podcast. Contact Erik Evans, Director of Communications at AURI to schedule an interview or request additional information about High Island Organics and the Ag Innovator of the Year. Email or dial 218-888-7600 ext. 102.

About AURI
The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI)’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 collaborates with businesses and entrepreneurs to generate economic impact in Minnesota communities by helping them 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. To learn more about AURI, visit