Minnesota Soybean Business

MN AG EXPO 2019: Thinking Big

When Ron Obermoller is manning the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute’s (AURI) booth at MN AG EXPO, he’s not just looking to chew the fat with his fellow farmers. The AURI chairman and Brewster, Minn., farmer is also searching for the next innovative use for value-added agriculture products.

“It’s always an honor to be there and meet with farmers,” says Obermoller, the District 7 representative for the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council. “I also like being there and hearing about any ideas farmers have. A lot of (Ag Expo) is talking with people and getting their thoughts.”

AURI will have multiple presences at the 2019 MN AG EXPO. They’ll be stationed on the main trade floor, as well as in the Research and Innovation Center on the second floor, where the organization will be displaying the latest developments in value-added agriculture research, specifically commercialization products related to corn and soybeans.

“We are a champion of anything that creates new uses for soybeans and corn,” says Erik Evans, AURI’s director of communications. “We feel this an exciting and new opportunity for producers.”

AURI will be showing off its investment in RePLAY Agricultural Oil Asphalt Seal and Preservation Agent, a patented solution that extends the life of paved asphalt surfaces. RePLAY is made from 88 percent bio-based solutions with more than 50 percent made from soybean oil.

RePLAY not only extends the life of asphalt surfaces, but lowers labor costs, reduces road closures during application and eliminates the harmful fumes of petroleum products used for road maintenance. The City of Hutchinson estimates its use of RePLAY has cut their road maintenance budget by 30 percent. RePLAY also uses about 100 bushels of soybeans per lane mile of paved surface.

Ron Obermoller is AURI chair and a MSR&PC director.

“When you consider the state of Minnesota has about 200,000 miles of paved roadways, you’re talking significant usage,” Evans says. “That really ads up.”

AURI will also be promoting high oleic soybean cooking oil, which the Food and Drug Administration confirmed may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. With stagnant commodity prices affecting growers, and overall farm income down for the fifth consecutive year, Obermoller says the climate is ideal to commercialize new uses for corn and soybeans. A longtime farmer, Obermoller recalls the farm crises of the 1980s created demand and a marketplace for the development of homegrown, renewable fuels.

“It’s especially important at a time like this with low commodity prices to highlight the value added products to show growers and producers that there are other opportunities generate revenue and sustain their farms and continue that proud tradition of farming,” he says.

AURI welcomes any brainchild, big or small. Just be sure to tell Ron.

“It’s an honor to be at Ag Expo and work with the soybean growers,” says Obermoller, a former Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) director. “There are good ideas out there; there’s never a shortage of big ideas. We just need more ideas.”

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