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2024 New Uses Forum Explores Bioindustrial Innovation and Opportunities

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) is conducting its annual New Uses Forum on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, at the Mayo Health System Event Center in Mankato, Minn. This year’s event will highlight some of the market challenges and emerging opportunities for agricultural feedstocks in the evolving field of bioindustrial innovation.

The New Uses Forum will showcase some of the latest innovations across the Midwest and the United States. There will be a special focus on how these emerging opportunities can benefit Minnesota’s value-added agricultural economy. This year’s speakers will represent producers, entrepreneurs, growth-stage companies and established sector pioneers, end users, economic developers, researchers, and investors. They will share insights on biomaterials and investment capital as well as how Minnesota’s agricultural feedstocks can be used across the bioindustrial landscape.

  • Keynote speakers include Jack Starr, Ph.D., the chief manufacturing officer at BioMADE, and Joe Schroeder, Ph.D., chief scientist of NatureWorks. Starr will discuss how Minnesota is capitalizing on the federal government’s significant investment to develop an end-to-end bioindustrial manufacturing ecosystem.  Minnesota is slated to host the first bioindustrial manufacturing campus for BioMADE. Schroeder will share NatureWorks’ decades-long journey as a case study in tackling innovation and handling commercialization challenges to advance biomaterial inputs and biobased products.
  • In addition to keynote presentations and a full day of programming and networking, AURI will also present the organization’s annual Ag Innovator of the Year award to a Minnesota company or entrepreneur making a substantial impact in the areas of product innovation, uniqueness, and commercialization potential.
  • Prior to the New Uses Forum, AURI will host a networking Open House on Monday, April 8, 2024, at the organization’s new Bioindustrial Innovation Center in Waseca, Minn., which is about 30 miles east of Mankato.

Each year, the New Uses Forum brings together industry leaders from across the value chain, including producers, agribusiness, economic development, academia, finance and others for in-depth discussions, informal knowledge sharing, and networking. Registration is now open. AURI is offering an in-person and virtual option. To register, learn more information, and see a detailed schedule of events, visit the event website.

AURI, and its event partners Compeer Financial and Avisen Legal, extend their gratitude to the 2024 New Uses Forum sponsors: Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Southwest Initiative Foundation, AgriGrowth Council, CoBank, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, West Central Initiative, Redwing Ignite, Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Farmers Union, MBOLD, and MinnWest Technology Campus.

About AURI
The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute is a nonprofit whose mission is to accelerate the expansion of the agricultural economy by empowering expanded uses and markets of agriculturally derived products. It accomplishes this by using science and technology to help develop new uses for agricultural products. It collaborates globally, acts regionally, and is known as an economic catalyst for Minnesota with a focus on bio-industrial products and food. AURI provides a broad range of services, including applied research and development, scientific assistance, and a targeted network across the value chain to foster collaboration. To learn more, visit

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 Avisen Legal
A boutique law firm headquartered in Minneapolis, Avisen Legal represents businesses, business owners, investment funds, and non-profits on the legal issues that relate to the formation, operation, growth, and sale of their businesses.

The firm’s attorneys advise businesses, funds, and non-profits on issues ranging from employment issues, negotiating contracts, raising capital, mergers and acquisitions, and estate planning with personal attention and tailored advice.