AIC Board Member
Shannon M. Schlecht, Executive Director of the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), is responsible for the overall strategic and operational oversight for the organization’s staff, programs and execution of its mission. AURI provides technical services to businesses, conducts applied research initiatives and convenes networking events to create value-added economic opportunities for the food and agriculture sector. AURI operates three laboratories and its dedicated staff assist industry participants on over 150 food and agricultural innovation projects each year to further the Institute’s mission of fostering long-term economic benefit for Minnesota through value-added agricultural products. During his time at AURI, Schlecht helped launch the New Uses Forum convening that attracts over 200 participants annually to both showcase and advance food and ag innovations, and leads the Bold Open, which is a collaborative of 19 entities focused on accelerating creative solutions to food and agricultural innovation challenges. He represents AURI on the MBOLD coalition of Minnesota food and agricultural companies where he leads an innovation platform. Schlecht has also served as Vice President of Policy for U.S. Wheat Associates in Arlington, Virginia, and held numerous roles within the trade association during his 14 years with the organization. He has extensive background in agriculture, policy, market development, international trade, strategic planning and management. He served as the wheat industry representative to the USDA Secretary of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative for the Grains, Feed, Oilseeds, and Planting Seeds Agricultural Trade Advisory Council. He was also the liaison to several national agricultural coalitions and conducted initiatives in over 40 countries to develop U.S. wheat market opportunities. He holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Agricultural Economics from North Dakota State University (NDSU) and is a trustee for the NDSU Foundation.