AURI honors Marshall firm for ag innovation

MARSHALL – Two firms, one based in Marshall, will be honored by the Agriculture Utilization Research Institute for creating a process that derives a feed suitable for pigs, poultry and fish from soy meal.

The AURI Ag Innovator of the Year Award will be presented at Southwest Minnesota State University on Wednesday. Midwest Ag Enterprises, headquartered in Marshall, and Stewart-based firm TechMix will share the award, the 12th since the award was instituted in 2002.

“We look for an agricultural commodity that is used in new product or process,” said AURI Communications Director Amanda Wanke. “Someone who is doing something exceptional to create new markets and new jobs.”

The AURI board of directors selects awardees from nominations submitted by AURI staff, according to Wanke.

“We usually just give it to one client, but they’re doing something together, and there’s no way to separate it,” Wanke said. “It’s an animal feed ingredient. Most soy meal has high fiber and complex sugars, which single-stomach animals like pigs and poultry can’t digest well.”

The product is called NutriVance and is expected to go into commercial production this August in Galva, Iowa, according to John Pollock, co-owner of Midwest Ag Enterprises.

“We’ve been working on it for about three years,” Pollock said. “The value is in removing the anti-nutritional component from soybeans, the sugars that can be disruptive to young animals.”

According to Pollock, about 25 percent of the soymeal components are removed, which also creates a liquid byproduct suitable for consumption by beef and dairy cattle.

“With the help of AURI, we utilized the University of Minnesota Dairy Science facilities for trial runs funded by the Minnesota Soybean Board,” Pollock said.

Minnesota produces about 300 million bushels of soybeans per year, according to Dennis Timmerman, senior project development director, director of Marshall operations at AURI.

“The estimated world-wide market is 55,000 tons for this project,” Timmerman said, “which translates into 3.5 million bushels of soy. It’s too early to tell, but it has the potential to add some price benefit to local producers.”