Keeping Food Supply Safe and Stable
Growing our own seeds: One way that we ensure a safe and stable food supply is to grow our own potato seeds. Growing potato seed is a multi-year process that starts in a greenhouse and subsequently grows for three more seasons before it is ready for commercial planting. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture certifies the seed before the final year, when the potatoes are harvested and sold to processors.
Developing new potato varieties: Additionally, as R.D. Offutt Farms manages inputs to protect the soil and environment, our team members are keeping an eye toward the future and using a science-driven approach as approved by our customers, and supported by universities and industry members to develop new potato varieties. Our goal is to develop potatoes that will remain high-quality, require less inputs and resist disease. This process can be years-long, but we are excited about our progress and remain committed to achieve industry-supported, positive crop outcomes.
Tracing our potatoes for safety: R.D. Offutt Farms carefully documents each truck load of potatoes by field, then they are stored and later sent to the processor. Potatoes can be traced back to individual fields, so in the event of a safety or contamination issue, health agencies can quickly and accurately identify the source. This type of tracking is an essential link in protecting public health and ensuring food safety.
Lamb Weston / RDO-Frozen Partnership: Ron Offutt built a potato processing plant in Park Rapids, Minn. in 1981. Today, Lamb Weston / RDO-Frozen operates four production lines, 285 days per year to keep up with demand. The facility produces 500
million pounds per year — that's enough potato products per minute to last a local chain restaurant for an entire week.
Conducting research to define farming in the future: To ensure we have sustainable and sufficient food supply in the future, we continually investigate and initiate research programs with the University of Minnesota, North Dakota State University and Central Lakes College. Our agronomists help design research and we also dedicate fields every year to these institutions so they can take lab research into the field. The research we are involved in helps us and the entire industry explore ways to farm potatoes using less land and water and fewer input resources.