Growing Much More Than Potatoes: Charlie Wachlin Celebrates 25 Years of Service

When reflecting upon his 25-year career at R.D. Offutt Farms, Regional Farm Manager Charlie Wachlin often mentions the word growth.

As a farmer, it's easy for Wachlin to talk about growth in the context of the many growing seasons he has been a part of. More important to him, though, are the ways he's inspired the growth of his family, his team members, his community and himself during that same period.

Wachlin began his career with RDO in the summer of 1998 as part-time help during harvest before accepting a full-time position as a Team Lead for the RDO Perham Farm.

Most recently, Wachlin was promoted to Regional Farm Manager, where he oversees the RDO Lisbon, Wadena, Ripley and Royalton Farms.

Regardless of position or location, Wachlin has always appreciated the variety of work that R.D. Offutt Farms provides.

“All the different aspects of the farm have kept me interested and engaged over the years,” he explained. “Every year is unique and although there are new challenges, there are also new solutions to be found.”

For Wachlin, one of the most engaging aspects of the farming cycle is harvest and over the last few years, the work has become ever more special as he now gets to work alongside three of his children who have decided to follow in his footsteps at RDO.

For Wachlin’s kids, farming is a bond they share with their dad, one established as they grew with a front-row seat to the pivotal role agriculture plays in everyday life.

“I spent a lot of time with my family as the kids were growing up,” stated Wachlin. “The ability to have my kids on the farm allowed them to learn about ag and let them be a part of my world which contributed to building a complete family all within the larger RDO family.”

Now that Wachlin’s children are fully grown, he has taken it upon himself to help provide the next generation of students with opportunities in the agriculture industry.

Just this last year, Wachlin was awarded a Community Builder grant from the Offutt Family Foundation for his involvement with the Wadena County 4-H.

“As a Farm Manager, I want to represent RDO and the industry well,” said Wachlin. “It’s so important for me to build strong connections with the community and help encourage kids to pursue agriculture education.”

And it’s with this passion that Wachlin has been a great leader over the last 25 years at R.D. Offutt Farms.

Looking back, Wachlin can see his growth as a manager, a father and a member of his community. He has experienced the joy of success, but he knows firsthand how sometimes the most challenging times in our lives are the ones that help us improve the most. Today, he’s looking forward to more growth ahead in his career, through the ups and, sometimes especially, through the downs.

“I want people to remember that everyone falls into bad times and it’s important to keep embracing the unknown through it all. A bad time does not equal a bad life,” shared Wachlin.