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Reader Opinion: Powering Minnesota's future

At the University of Minnesota, we are tackling Minnesota's greatest challenges by partnering with communities across the state and using our research and innovation to power their respective futures. The University's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences has a strong, 150-year partnership with the state of Minnesota that helps advance our state's most promising industries, and every day our researchers are working on solutions for Minnesota, including right here in Brainerd.

Families across the state are planning summer vacations to Brainerd, ready to experience the region's rich recreational activities and spend time on the lakes. Those lakes are under constant threat, but researchers at the university are working to clean Minnesota's lakes and keep invasive species at bay. In Brainerd, we are using genetic identification methods to research zebra mussels and prevent the spread of the dangerous species.

Additionally, we are driving innovation in golf. Through a partnership with the United States Golf Association—obtained through the University's strong enterprise in the field—our researchers are working to create a more sustainable game of golf through the reduction of chemicals and water use, as well as the preservation of pollinator habitats. We are addressing the long-term sustainability of golf, and in turn, advancing the economy and culture of Brainerd.

And recently, our researchers developed a sponge that can absorb mercury from polluted water within seconds. The sponge converts mercury contamination into a non-toxic compound that can be disposed of easily. This innovation can have a large impact in Brainerd and the entire state: More than two thirds of the waters on Minnesota's 2004 Impaired Waters List contain mercury contamination.

We are working with you to meet Minnesota's challenges. We look forward to continued partnership with the State and your community to keep that impact strong.

Brian Buhr

Dean of the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences