Secretary of State Simon says AIC is ‘creating buzz’

Categories: NewsPublished On: November 22, 20232.1 min read

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When Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon first heard about the Ag Innovation Campus (AIC) while stopping by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council booth at Farmfest this summer, he knew he had to come see it for himself. He heard from acting AIC CEO Tom Slunecka about a place that would fuel innovation in agriculture, a home for bridging the valley of death for startups, and a site that would add value to soybeans and other oilseed crops. Sec. Simon held true to his promise to see this facility firsthand during his annual 87county tour, which brought him to northwest Minnesota on Nov. 17. 


“The Ag Innovation Campus has created some real buzz, not just in agriculture but all over. This is a feather in the cap of Minnesota,” said Simon. “It’s an exciting new opportunity and I wanted to see it with my own eyes.” 


While the secretary of state is most known for overseeing the election processes throughout the state, another key responsibility is the review, approval and filings for all businesses and organizations operating in Minnesota.  


“We call ourselves the welcome mat for Minnesota businesses because we handle all the business registrations, which is the first thing you legally have to do to become a business,” said Simon.  


During his visit, Sec. Simon sat down for a Q&A with AIC Plant Manager Kent Meyers, along with Board Chair Mike Skaug and Board Secretary Jimmy Gosse and received a tour of the 16,000squarfoot soybean crushing facility in Crookston, Minn. Meyers, Skaug and Gosse all shared the story of AIC, how it will benefit agriculture in Minnesota and how future phases will help spearhead innovation and industry. 


“There are over 900,000 businesses registered in Minnesota, but through this visit it became quite clear to me that AIC isn’t just another business or place employing people. It’s really on the cutting edge in so many ways,” said Simon. “They have a fantastic team that is obviously at the right place at the right time.”  


As Gosse noted during the visit, the AIC will also be an incubator for future business growth and development by providing research space and other resources for that next big idea in agriculture 


“AIC is a starting point to a bigger and broader vision. That’s always been the Minnesota way,” Gosse said. “Hopefully we can help keep Secretary Simon busy with those new business filings long into the future.”