As a local business and employer, R.D. Offutt Farms is committed to responsible and sustainable growing practices. These practices help reduce the need for inputs such as nutrients and pesticides, while optimizing our yield. We care about the health of our local communities; after all, we live, work, and play here, too.
Some recent highlights of our sustainably practices include:
- A reduction in phosphorus use by 40 percent and nitrogen use by 10 percent during recent years at our farms in Park Rapids, Minnesota.
- Using sophisticated, scientific forecasting models using weather, crop and disease progression data to determine the ideal combination of timing and inputs, which helps reduce the number of fungicide applications in fields identified as environmentally sensitive.
- The adoption of slow-release encapsulated fertilizer (ESN) to minimize leaching on all our Minnesota farms.
- The use of GPS and machine controlled precision application techniques to reduce field tillage passes by more than 50 percent, while also reducing overlap and unnecessary movement of soil. In addition, our newest tillage equipment allows for single-pass seedbed preparation.
- All irrigation equipment throughout our Minnesota farms utilize drop down, low pressures nozzles which use less water and reduces the impact of water lost through evaporation.
- Using state-of-art equipment and application methods, we have minimalized the potential for drift or exposure to any nutrients, irrigation or crop protection that we apply to fields. In addition, we have planted buffer zones whenever and wherever possible, including more than 125,000 trees.
Our operations have continually scored above the industry average in assessments and have annually been recognized for their sustainable practices. Our commitment extends to also continually investigating and initiating new sustainable practices. This includes our participation in the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Integrated Pest Management” program (IPM) and the United States Department of Agriculture’s “Good Agricultural Practice” program (GAP).
- The IPM program is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on current and comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage with the least possible hazard to people, property and the environment. We hope to continue to incorporate IPM practices with modern equipment and application methods to minimize the potential for drift or exposure to any nutrients, irrigation or crop protection
- The GAP program includes specific farming methods that create food for consumers or further processing that is considered safe and wholesome. Many of our sustainable farming practices have been confirmed by independent third-party audits that have been conducted on our farms
R.D. Offutt Farms graded out in the most recent assessments:
- 20 percentage points above the regional benchmark in Stewardship Nutrient management practices
- 17 percentage points above the regional benchmark in Stewardship Advanced crop/pest management practices
- 16 percentage points above the regional benchmark in Stewardship Management and worker protection practices
With help from our agronomy and scientific partners, we use the most up-to-date forecasting models to determine the ideal combination of timing and inputs by using weather, crop and disease progression data. We have also reduced the number of fungicide applications in fields identified as environmentally sensitive.
Pollinator Plantings to Promote Habitat
In partnership with Syngenta, Pheasants Forever, Applewood Seeds, and the National Potato Council, planted over 675 acres of pollinator seed to support habitat for bees, monarch butterflies, and other pollinators. To learn more, click on the video below.