116O.09 Agricultural utilization research institute.
Subdivision 1. Establishment. The agricultural utilization research institute is established as a nonprofit corporation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. The agricultural utilization research institute shall promote the establishment of new products and product uses and the expansion of existing markets for the state's agricultural commodities and products. The institute must be located near an existing agricultural research facility in the agricultural region of the state.
Subd. 1a. Board of directors. The board of directors of the agricultural utilization research institute is comprised of:
(1) the chairs of the senate and the house of representatives committees with jurisdiction over agriculture policy;
(2) two representatives of statewide farm organizations;
(3) two representatives of agribusiness, one of whom is a member of the Minnesota Technology, Inc. board representing agribusiness; and
(4) three representatives of the commodity promotion councils.
A member of the board of directors under clauses (1) to (4) may designate a permanent or temporary replacement member representing the same constituency.
Subd. 2. Duties. (a) In addition to the duties and powers assigned to the institutes in section 116O.08, the agricultural utilization research institute shall:
(1) identify the various market segments characterized by Minnesota's agricultural industry, address each segment's individual needs, and identify development opportunities in each segment;
(2) develop and implement a utilization program for each segment that addresses its development needs and identifies techniques to meet those needs;
(3) coordinate research among the public and private organizations and individuals specifically addressing procedures to transfer new technology to businesses, farmers, and individuals;
(4) provide research grants to public and private educational institutions and other organizations that are undertaking basic and applied research that would promote the development of the various agricultural industries; and
(5) provide financial assistance including, but not limited to: (i) direct loans, guarantees, interest subsidy payments, and equity investments; and (ii) participation in loan participations. The board of directors shall establish the terms and conditions of the financial assistance.
(b) The agricultural utilization research institute board of directors shall have the sole approval authority for establishing agricultural utilization research priorities, requests for proposals to meet those priorities, awarding of grants, hiring and direction of personnel, and other expenditures of funds consistent with the adopted and approved mission and goals of the agricultural utilization research institute. The actions and expenditures of the agricultural utilization research institute are subject to audit and regular annual report to the legislature in general and specifically the house of representatives agriculture committee, the senate agriculture and rural development committee, the house of representatives environment and natural resources finance committee, and the senate environment and agriculture budget division.
Subd. 3. Staff. The board of directors shall hire staff for the agricultural utilization research institute. Persons employed by the agricultural utilization research institute are not state employees and may participate in state retirement, deferred compensation, insurance, or other plans that apply to state employees generally and are subject to regulation by the state campaign finance and public disclosure board.
Subd. 4. Agricultural research grants. The institute may make matching grants for agricultural product utilization research to the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota state colleges and universities, a Minnesota private college or university, a private corporation, or a person. Grants may be matched from private sources, including farm commodity groups and farm organizations.
Subd. 5. Advisory board. A 26-member advisory board may be established to identify priorities for the agricultural utilization research institute. Members of the advisory board are appointed by the board. The advisory board consists of: the chair of the Minnesota house of representatives agricultural committee; the chair of the Minnesota senate agricultural committee; a representative from each of the ten largest agricultural-related businesses in the state as determined by the corporation; a member from each of the appropriate trade organizations representing producers of beef cattle, dairy, corn, soybeans, pork, wheat, turkey, barley, wild rice, edible beans, eggs, and potatoes; a member of the Farmers's Union; and a member of the Farm Bureau. Terms and removal of members must be set by the board and members of the advisory board serve without compensation but shall receive their necessary and actual expenses.
The advisory board shall annually provide a list of priorities and suggested research and marketing studies that should be performed by the agricultural utilization research institute.
Subd. 6. Bylaws. The board of directors shall adopt bylaws necessary for the conduct of the business of the institute consistent with this section. The corporation must publish bylaws and amendments to the bylaws in the State Register.
Subd. 7. Place of business. The board of directors shall locate and maintain the institute's place of business within the state.
Subd. 8. Chair. The board of directors shall annually elect from among its members a chair and other officers necessary for the performance of its duties.
Subd. 9. Meetings. The board of directors shall meet at least twice each year and may hold additional meetings upon giving notice in accordance with the bylaws of the institute. Board meetings are subject to chapter 13D, except subdivision 1b as it pertains to financial information, business plans, income and expense projections, customer lists, market and feasibility studies, and trade secret information as defined by section 13.37, subdivision 1, paragraph (b).
Subd. 10. Conflict of interest. A director, employee, or officer of the institute may not participate in or vote on a decision of the board relating to an organization in which the director has either a direct or indirect financial interest.
Subd. 11. No benefit to private individuals or corporations. This institute shall not afford pecuniary gain, incidental or otherwise, to any private individual, firm, or corporation, except the payment of reasonable fees for goods and services provided and approved in accordance with the bylaws of the corporation. No part of the net income or net earnings of the institute shall, directly or indirectly, be distributable to or otherwise inure to the benefit of any individual.
Subd. 12. Funds. The institute may accept and use gifts, grants, or contributions from any source. Unless otherwise restricted by the terms of a gift or bequest, the board may sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of and invest or reinvest the money, securities, or other property given or bequested to it. The principal of these funds, the income from them, and all other revenues received by it from any nonstate source must be placed in the depositories the board determines and is subject to expenditure for the board's purposes. Expenditures of more than $25,000 must be approved by the full board.
Subd. 13. Accounts; audits. The institute may establish funds and accounts that it finds convenient. The board shall provide for and pay the cost of an independent annual audit of its official books and records by the legislative auditor subject to sections 3.971 and 3.972. A copy of this audit shall be filed with the secretary of state.
For purposes of this section, "institute" means the agricultural utilization research institute established under this section and "board of directors" means the board of directors of the agricultural utilization research institute.
Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes