R.D. Offutt Farms has committed to plant 10,000 trees and 200 pollinator acres in 2021.
The commitment reflects the company’s priority to protect natural resources, according to an RDO press release in connection with Earth Day, April 22.
The release states that RDO began planting trees in 1990 to replace those harvested to develop potato fields. Since then, the company has invested more than $150,000 to plant more than 300,000 tries around fields in Hubbard County.
Warren Warmbold, RDO Midwest Farms’ operation manager, said wooded areas benefit farming by providing a windbreak to minimize soil erosion, while also creating habitat for native animal species.
The trees are sourced from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Badoura State nursery. Over the years, plantings have included red pine, white pine, jack pine and spruce trees, based on availability. This month, the company planned to plant jack pine trees in the Park Rapids area.
In addition, RDO has planted more than 600 acres of pollinator habitat since 2015. A University of Minnesota study found that these plantings can conserve pollinator populations and show promise as a method of ecological intensification.
Partnering with Syngenta’s Operation Pollinator, a global initiative that encourages agricultural, golf and other landscapes to create habitats, RDO will plant 200 acres of pollinator habitat with native seed mixes formulated for the Minnesota climate. These mixes are expected to attract monarch butterflies, honeybees and other pollinators.
Habitats will be expanded at multiple RDO farms, including in Park Rapids, Perham and Wadena, and new habitats will be added at RDO’s farm in Becker and a partner farm in Hastings.
“Sustainable agriculture started a long time ago at RDO,” said Farm President Keith McGovern. “As farmers, we rely on the soil, water and natural resources to grow our crop.”
He added, “We are proud to play our part, and it’s the right thing to do.”