Brooten, Minn. – Just in time for harvest to wrap up this fall, the R.D. Offutt (RDO) Brooten Farm has a new facility to store potatoes.
Chris Strom, RDO Farm Manager, said the farm undertook a capital improvement project over the summer to upgrade a storage facility with a new roof, insulation, doors, fans, coolers and refrigeration controls. Local contractors Brooten Electric and Greely Plumbing were involved in the $2 million project.
“The upgrade project allowed us to be more energy efficient and to increase our capacity,” Strom said. “We are grateful to the teams at Brooten Electric and Greely Plumbing – the project was finished on time and on budget.”
The project broke ground in early June and was completed in August, before potatoes were harvested and stored in the new facility.
Farming in the Bonanza Valley
The RDO Brooten Farm was established in 1992. Strom has worked at RDO Farms for 28 years, taking over the farm manager role after his father, who held the position for 19 years, retired. Strom and the RDO Farm team grow potatoes on fields in Pope, Stearns, Kandiyohi and Douglas counties.
Strom said he is proud to be part of the large ag community in the area. “There are farmers of all sizes and we work well together, rotating crops and preserving water resources,” Strom said. “Especially in years like this one where we experienced drought conditions, local farmers stay in contact to discuss issues and support each other.”
Strom has implemented many sustainable farming practices over the years, such as increasing the average crop rotation to nearly five years, establishing pollinator habitats on field corners, applying organic fertilizers and planting as many cover crops as possible each fall. This year, he was able to plant 1,400 acres of cover crops, a mix of rye and oats.
A Brooten volunteer firefighter, Strom believes a big part of farming in the area is working closely with neighboring farmers and giving back to the community. This year, he arranged to donate 1,100 pounds of potatoes to three area churches and 300 pounds to the United Foundation for Disabled Archers.
“Every year, we receive calls from congregations seeking donations for fundraisers, community dinners and to provide food to parishioners in need,” Strom said. “We appreciate the opportunity to support organizations and families in the area.”
Image 1: Brooten Farm Manager Chris Strom has 28 years of potato-growing experience. Today, he leads a team that grows potatoes on fields in Pope, Stearns, Kandiyohi and Douglas counties.
Image 2: Strom inspects electrical equipment in Brooten's newly upgraded potato storage facility. The upgrade project resulted in a boost to both energy efficiency and storage capacity.
Image 3: Local contractor Brooten Electric was one of the partners who helped bring the $2 million storage facility upgrade to completion this fall.