Potato Grower Creates Pollinator Haven
R.D. Offutt Company, which grows up to 60,000 acres of potatoes each year, is turning nearly 1,200 acres of buffer cropland in Minnesota and the Dakotas into havens for pollinators. “Build it and they will come,” says Vince Restucci, director of procurement and business technology for R.D. Offutt Company. “The biodiversity plots are like a juice bar for pollinators.”
Since 2015, R.D. Offutt Company has established plots in the corners of potato fields where pivot irrigation systems don’t reach. These plots are part of Operation Pollinator, a research-based program from Syngenta that boosts the number of pollinating insects on farms by creating specific habitats tailored to local conditions and native insects.
Syngenta, Pheasants Forever and flower seed producer Applewood Seed Company helped R.D. Offutt Company select the right mix of wildflowers and native plants to attract a variety of pollinators, including monarch butterflies and honey bees. Not only are these plots helping pollinators, but they are also beautifying the area. “I’ve been really surprised by the community’s interest and positive response,” Restucci says.
The strong business relationship Syngenta has forged with R.D. Offutt Company for more than a decade has helped the Operation Pollinator partnership thrive, adds Marc Rinke, a district manager with Syngenta. “Doing what’s right for the environment is a long-term priority for Syngenta and those we serve.”
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