Soybean Farmers Help Make Ag Innovation Campus Reality

Cindy Zimmerman

L-R:Tom Slunecka, Tom Frisch, Jimmy Gosse, Bob Worth, Mike Skaug, Shannon Schlecht

Minnesota soybean farmers were proud to see the new cutting-edge Ag Innovation Campus (AIC) open last week in Crookston. The AIC hosted its grand opening ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 14, with an open house, tours and remarks from AIC officials and those involved in the creation of the facility.

After nearly five years of advocating, planning and construction, the Ag Innovation Campus facility itself is complete, but is awaiting a few final components before launching formal operations in the coming weeks. “Getting to this point was no easy task. We had to navigate COVID-19. We dealt with supply chain shortages, workforce shortages and inflation,” said AIC Board Chair and Beltrami, Minn., farmer Mike Skaug. “That makes this moment all the more rewarding. It’s also rewarding to know that farmer-led advocacy was crucial in putting the Ag Innovation Campus in a position to succeed.”

“Thanks to checkoff support from both the Council and United Soybean Board, the AIC is bringing both public and private industry together to bring ideas and technologies from benchtop all the way to commercialization,” said Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) Chair Tom Frisch, who farms in Dumont and also serves as AIC treasurer. “The AIC will also allow for teaching of the next generation of crush plant managers and operation personnel, and we’re confident that the AIC can continue to keep our industry at the forefront of new and emerging technologies and value-added uses.”

The crush plant is only the first phase in this three-phase project. Phase two will feature an office complex and research labs. Phase three consists of rentable discovery bays that will be available for short to midterm use. Companies can then use the space to prove their designs at full production scale. The “Crushwalk” will also allow visitors to view the processing facility in a safe and bio secure manner.

Listen to interviews with Skaug and Frisch from the grand opening last week.
AIC interview with Mike Skaug, AIC Board chair 4:33

AIC interview with Tom Frisch, MSR&PC Board chair 2:10

Ag Innovation Campus Grand Opening Photo Album

Audio, Soybean, Technology