Minnesota site will explore nutrient conversion in plants and animals
Ralco has held a groundbreaking for the Jon Knochenmus Center for Innovation in Marshall, Minnesota. The 13.6-acre site will be the hub for exploration of natural approaches to maximize nutrient conversion in both plants and animals. The center will integrate the chemical lab, multi-species animal research, diagnostic research, pilot lab, microbiology lab, and greenhouse all under one roof while cultivating growth and opportunities in Marshall. The center will also serve Ralco’s customers with the continued perfection of their patented approaches.
The innovation center will allow Ralco’s team of Ph.D. and master level scientists to conduct research in multiple disciplines to screen scientific breakthroughs prior to implementation into commercial research facilities. The center will also provide a place for Ralco staff to work with local university students and invite customers for a firsthand view of advanced approaches to solve some of agriculture’s toughest problems.
“This space is an opportunity for us to bring our customers and show them precisely what Ralco is doing. We’re not going to keep this behind the curtain. It’s a space for transparency that showcases our work in live action,” said Diane Wagner, vice president of innovation for Ralco. “We are a science-based company, and we are always learning about how we convert more energy out of nutritional inputs. We use science to focus on this idea of nutrient conversion to create strong immunity and superior performance of plants and animals for our customers.”
The groundbreaking begins the process of expanding the lab facility. Additional facilities will be constructed for small groups of animals including ruminants, swine and poultry. The pilot lab will create small batches of feed, and a greenhouse will be used to conduct preliminary plant research. Ralco President Brian Knochenmus believes the center is a crucial space for their scientists to conduct research.
“We have very talented people at Ralco, we always have, but they needed more space to advance their ideas. This center gives them the tools and opportunity they require to make remarkable change,” he said. “We currently hold 21 patents and have another 60 pending. The research conducted at this center will lead to even more patents and more ways we can serve our customers.”
The name of the center is in honor of Jon Knochenmus, Ralco president emeritus. During his tenure, Ralco has experienced extensive growth. Jon Knochenmus introduced advanced approaches like essential oils, baby pig milk replacer and prebiotic fiber to the agriculture market on a large scale. Brian Knochenmus said it was only fitting to name the center after his father.
“When my grandfather, Bob Galbraith, founded Ralco 50 years ago, he planted the seed of innovation. My father, Jon Knochenmus nurtured and grew that seed by engaging and stimulating change. Jon is such a catalyst for change and looking for opportunities with the greatest curiosity. He created so much of an impact on our drive toward innovation and the center named after him sets the stage for even more progress,” Brian Knochenmus said.