MENAHGA, Minn., Aug. 24, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small yesterday awarded a $500,000 grant to Minnesota’s Agriculture Utilization Research Institute (AURI) to help producers develop and market value-added agricultural products.
USDA Rural Development is making the grant through the Agriculture Innovation Center Program, which provides funding to innovation centers that provide technical assistance to agricultural producers.
“Ag producers in Minnesota have the expertise it takes to expand into new and better markets with innovative, value-added products, and USDA is committed to partnering with organizations like AURI to support that work,” Torres Small said. “This award is a clear example of how the Biden Administration is building our economy from the bottom up and middle out, investing in rural businesses that know how to serve their community’s unique needs.”
Torres Small announced the award alongside U.S. Sen. Tina Smith and USDA Rural Development Minnesota State Director Colleen Landkamer during a visit to Ten Finns Creamery, a family-owned business in Menahga that has received technical assistance from AURI.
“Minnesota is home to an incredible amount of resourceful, innovative agricultural entrepreneurs,” Landkamer said. “Investments like this one give our farmers the assistance they need to take their businesses to the next level and reap the benefits of their hard work.”
AURI partners with businesses and entrepreneurs to help them develop new uses for agricultural products through science and technology. The organization will use the $500,000 grant to provide a variety of assistance to producers, including engineering and business development services. AURI also will help producers connect to distribution systems, processing facilities and commercial kitchens.
AURI will provide $250,000 in matching funds.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mn.
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