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MN, IA, Other States Look to Strong Agbiosciences Industry to Support Economic Prosperity

August 28, 2014

Minnesota’s economic future may well be rooted in its historic leadership in agricultural production, according to a new report prepared by Battelle, Agbioscience as a Development Driver: Minnesota Agbioscience Strategy. The report includes an assessment of Minnesota’s key capacities and opportunities in agricultural research and a suggested strategy for the state with a specific focus on growing the state’s agricultural bioscience (agbioscience) research infastructure. After interviewing more than 100 researchers and research administrators, the authors identified four agbioscience research platform areas to target:

  • Microbial Agbioscience — the total global market for microbes and microbial products is projected to exceed $259 billion in 2016;
  • Resilient, Efficient & Productive Agricultural Systems;
  • Biobased Industrial Products — Biomaterial demand in the U.S. is forecasted to reach $4.6 billion in 2016; and,
  • Value-Added Food and Health Products.

To unlock the potential of the state’s agbiosience industry, the report highlights several recommendations that include:

  • Creating an integrated system for multi-use facilities and shared-use equipment targeted to scaling technology companies;
  • Forming a cluster network around the identified agbioscience platform areas;
  • Building upon Minnesota’s existing commercialization funds to support proof-of -concept and commercialization activities; and,
  • Designing and sustaining a robust, agbioscience-specific, entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The report was prepared for AURI (Agricultural Utilization Research Institute), a Minnesota tech-based economic development organization focused on support innovation and economic prosperity in rural areas across the state through the support of research focused public-private partnerships. Read the report…

Battelle Report on U.S. Bioscience Industry highlights Agbioscience Growth
In June, Battelle released the 2014 edition of its State Bioscience Jobs, Investments and Innovation, an annual report on the national and state statistics for the bioscience industry in the United States.  The report U.S. agbioscience industry statistics at both the national and state level that include:

  • A yearly average of 2,095 patents filed for agbiosciences technologies;
  • Between 2009-13, the leading five states for filing of agbioscience related patents were California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Oregon;
  • Fourteen states specialized in agricultural feedstock & chemicals;
  • In 2012, there were 1,772 agbioscience firms – a 5.2 percent increase from 2007;
  • Those firms employed more than 76,000 employees;
  • From 2007-12, 21 states had some increase in subsector jobs with Iowa and Indiana having substantial increases;
  • The average annual wage for the agbioscience industry was $75,828;
  • Employment is well distributed across the U.S., with the largest 10 states accounting for just 63 percent of jobs; and,
  • States with the largest share of U.S. bioscience employment include Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and Indiana.

The top five metros for the agbiosciences industry, as measured by employment size, include Decatur, IL (4,724 employees); Memphis, TN(2,681); Houston, TX (1,997); Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL (1,785); and, Indianapolis-Carmel, IN (1,599). Battelle researchers also found that Agbioscience industry was driven heavily by large corporation, which led to limited venture capital activity. Read the report…

Iowa Announces ‘Cultivation Corridor,’ Signs Trade Agreement with Israel
To support the thriving agbiosciences industry in central Iowa, the region launched a new branding initiative focused on highlighting the region’s cluster of bioscience and agribusiness firms in April.  The Cultivation Corridor initiative is part of the work of Capital Crossroads, an economic development public-private partnership that operates in the Des Moines metro area according to the Quad-City Times.

One of the goals of the imitative is to create linkages between central Iowa and foreign governments. Cultivation Corridor organizers recently signed one of their first agreements with a foreign government, Israeli. Under the agreement, Cultivation Corridor and the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce will work together to promote more exports out of Iowa to Israel, according to the Des Moines Register.

Learn More at SSTI's 2014 Annual Conference!
Join us for Embracing Your Region’s Roots: Supporting Innovation in Rural Communities, AURI’s Executive Director Teresa Spaeth and Michigan State’s Dave Ivan will share their insight on how rural communities across the country are embracing their rural roots while supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. For more information about this session and many others visit the conference website: http://ssticonference.org/.

Iowa, Minnesotabio, rural, policy recommendations