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Economic Contribution of the Agbioscience Industry: Southeast Minnesota

Read the full report: Economic Contribution of the Agbioscience Industry in Southeast Minnesota

Agbioscience—especially the food sector—is a critical component of Southeast Minnesota’s past and future. A new research report shows that in one year alone agbioscience supported $8.3 billion in economic impact in Minnesota’s Southeast region. This is 11 percent of the region’s total economic output. And with the right steps and action, agbioscience could drive additional long-term prosperity in this region of the state—potentially growing to $12.3 billion in economic output in 2016.

Agbioscience is the fusion of agriculture and the associated biosciences that encompasses agricultural innovation, research, and processing. It is the focus of a new report “Economic Contribution of the Agbioscience Industry: Southeast Minnesota.” The research was cosponsored by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. It was conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Extension Center for Community Vitality.

“This research report reinforces what we know is a critical strength for our region—agriculture and the associated biosciences—and, specifically, value-added food production,” says Tim Penny, president and CEO for the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF). “We hope to be able to capitalize on this strength as one part of our efforts to build a strong future for this region.”

Key findings for Southeast Minnesota include:

  • In 2013, agbioscience companies in the region directly created an estimated $8.3 billion of economic activity, which represents 11 percent of regional output.
  • Together, production agriculture and agbioscience created 21 percent of regional output in 2013.
  • Of four agbioscience platforms identified as part of the agbioscience industry in Minnnesota, the value-added food and health products platform dominates in the Southeast region. Businesses in the platform produced $7.4 billion in output.
  • In 2013, the Southeast’s agbioscience industry employed 10,518 workers and paid an estimated $747.3 million in salaries, wages and benefits.

The report on Southeast Minnesota is part of a statewide effort funded by the state’s Initiative Foundations and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute to assess the impact agbioscience has on the state. These efforts grew out of a previous report by the renowned Battelle Technology Partnership Practice that found agbioscience to be a critical strength and opportunity for the state. The Battelle report also suggested a strategy for the state to build on these strengths.

That initial research was commissioned by the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute.

“This initiative is about creating a vision and strategy to transform Minnesota’s fundamental strength in agriculture into leading-edge innovation and economic growth,” says the Institute’s Executive Director Teresa Spaeth.

“Action and implementation will be key to ensuring this research doesn’t just sit on the shelf, but is implemented to create real growth. That’s why we’re partnering with Minnesota’s Initiative Foundations to better understand their regional strengths and identify specific next steps,” explains Spaeth.