- Tom Slunecka
The Ag Innovation Campus: Raising the Roof
We’re pouring it on this harvest season at the Ag Innovation Campus, literally. This fall, I'm pleased to report that, after breaking ground in Crookston, Minnesota, last year, concrete has been laid out throughout the facility.
We’ve made a lot of progress in recent months on the AIC and are right on schedule to begin production in spring 2023. A lot of heavy lifting has helped get us here.
The first panel on the facility was erected in June, and interior plumbing and electrical work will commence soon. These are huge steps for the AIC team. It’s been a long road, navigating a pandemic and rising costs, and to see this project come closer to completion has been enormously gratifying to our board and staff.
We thank the city of Crookston for moving forward with the design and construction of the new road to the east of the AIC facility. This will make it easier for trucks moving soybeans to the plant, as well as for soybean meal and soybean oil trucks taking those products to local markets.
We’re also excited to announce that Bill Paulsen has joined our team to manage the crush plant and help us grow in 2023 and beyond. Paulsen comes to the AIC after a lengthy career as a plant engineer in the biofuels industry. Welcome to the AIC, Bill!
The work continues, and you can continue to watch our progress all long via the livestream here.
The Path Ahead
After AIC construction is completed, we anticipate the facility will be fully up and running and crushing 2022 beans by the first quarter of 2023. Like many in our industry, we continue to endure a frustrating amount of supply-chain issues, but we are optimistic about our timeline.
The AIC’s three crushing lines will provide unique opportunities to crush conventional and specialty soybeans. Our special plant design also allows for easy clean-out to avoid cross-contamination with other soybean lines. We’ve already contracted the first two specialty runs and look forward to securing more.
In addition, this crush plant is dedicated to being the first facility in the world to purchase soybeans based off their amino-acid value. So, customers buying soybean meal from the AIC will benefit by knowing more about the intrinsic value of what they are getting over what they are currently buying from other sources.
In the near future, we also anticipate working on other oilseeds, including cover crops. Profits from our facility will be granted to projects designed to advance agriculture, making the Ag Innovation Campus a major source of new ideas.
Once phase 1 is completed next year, our one-of-a-kind specialty crushing facility will allow entrepreneurs from universities and private business, private seed developers and processing companies access to affordable processing, designed to lower costs while promoting growth of value-added products.
The facility will be available to private industries to create products that benefit all parties, from farm gate to consumers. Education will also be a key component to the AIC.
In phases 2 and 3, this first-of-its-kind facility will feature:
The new home of the Ag Utilization Research Institute, which is a partner of the AIC
Demonstration bays for innovative agriculture research conducted by new startup companies
A training site to develop the next generation of processing professionals in conjunction with local education centers and technology companies that want to showcase or train customers
A Regional Agricultural Education Center
A conference room with ability to host up to 100 people for ag-research events
A venue to allow customers from around the world a direct connection to premium U.S. agricultural products
Call to Action
Because we’re a not-for-profit that’s designed to uplift farmers and the agriculture industry, your help is needed to not only aid the AIC and our region’s economy, but your company as a whole. We also want to thank the many ag leaders throughout the country who have reached out and considered a partnership with us. We look forward to continuing to engage with future partners in the coming months.
Find out how your company can benefit from supporting this burgeoning project. See the link here, email me or reach out by phone at 507-720-4052.
Have a great harvest!
CEO, Ag Management Solutions
Acting CEO, Ag Innovation Campus