Council director retires from AURI

After serving on the Agricultural Utilization Research institute (AURI) Board of Directors for more than a decade, Ron Obermoller is hanging up his hat and riding off into the sunset – presumably on a biobased road surface.

Obermoller, who grows corn and soybeans near Brewster, has been involved in commodity groups since the 1980s. Spending his life in rural America fostered his passion for rural development and creating opportunities for the future.

“My interest has always been rural development. How do we keep money on the farm? How do we keep our kids on the farm? How do we create jobs out here in Minnesota?” Obermoller said.

Ron Obermoller is a longtime farmer-leader who has represented MSR&PC on AURI. A reception is being held on his behalf on Jan. 19 in St. Paul.

The answer to his questions was AURI.

Created in 1989 as a nonprofit, AURI’s mission is to “foster long-term economic benefit for Minnesota through value-added agricultural products.” This mission is carried out through their more than 100 projects every year, many of which have been supported by checkoff resources via the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC). Obermoller served as chair of AURI, representing the Council.

“We are finding value in the byproducts of commodities, like soybean, corn and wheat, and keeping it out of the landfill,” said Obermoller, who chaired the board for a decade. “That’s worth a lot to our customers.”

Though Obermoller is stepping away, Minnesota soybean farmers will continue to reap the benefits of AURI’s work for years to come.

“AURI has helped mold successful products that Minnesota soybean farmers have seen used in their backyard,” Obermoller said. “They did a lot of research on biodiesel and helped get it going. They are working closely with the United Soybean Board to commercialize RePlay. There are over 140 projects happening right now that impact Minnesota soybean farmers.”

When the gavel sounds at the January board meeting, Obermoller will be closing the book on a successful tenure on the AURI board. What will he miss the most? The people.

“You get to be very close friends with board members and staff,” he said. “You get to know them very well and I’ll miss that stuff.”

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