R.D. Offutt Farms makes 2021 Earth Day commitment

Protecting natural resources has long been a priority at R.D. Offutt Farms (RDO).

In 2021, RDO remains committed to that priority, and will plant an additional 10,000 trees and 200 acres of pollinator habitat.

RDO began planting trees in 1990 to replace those harvested for field development. Since then, RDO has invested more than $150,000 to plant more than 300,000 trees around fields in Hubbard County.

Warren Warmbold, RDO Midwest Farms’ Operation Manager, said forested and natural wooded areas provide great benefits not only for farming operations by providing a windbreak to minimize soil erosion, but also for native animal species, creating extra habitat.

Sourced from the DNR’s Badoura State Nursery and depending on availability, RDO has planted a variety of trees over the years, including red pine, white pine, jack pine and spruce trees. This April, the company is scheduled to receive and plant jack pine trees in the Park Rapids area.

In addition to planting trees, RDO has planted more than 600 acres of pollinator habitat since 2015. In years past, the University of Minnesota conducted research studies on RDO habitats, and found that when well established, plantings conserve pollinator populations and show promise as a method of ecological intensification.

Through an ongoing partnership with Syngenta’s Operation Pollinator, a global initiative that helps pollinators in agricultural, golf and other landscapes by creating essential habitats, RDO will plant 200 acres of pollinator habitat with native seed mixes created for Minnesota climate. The mixes are expected to attract monarch butterflies, honeybees, bees and other pollinators.

Pollinator habitats will be expanded at RDO farms in Park Rapids, Perham and Wadena, and new habitats will be added at RDO’s farm in Becker and RDO’s partner farm in Hastings, Minn.

Keith McGovern, RDO Farm President, said this Earth Day commitment is consistent with the company’s investment and protection of natural resources.

“Sustainable agriculture started a long time ago at RDO. As farmers, we rely on the soil, water and natural resources to grow our crop,” McGovern said. “On the field or off, we take great care to protect the environment, whether that means investing in soil health, planting trees and pollinators, or managing natural wooded acres. We are proud to play our part and it’s the right thing to do.”