North America, Sustainability

R.D. Offutt Farms and environmentalists’ potato war in Minnesota may have hit turning point

Maybe it’s just a breather, but the long-simmering controversy between the R.D. Offutt Farms’ potato field expansion project and environmentalists concerned about groundwater and lake pollution in Minnesota may have come to an end or at least reached a turning point. After Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources gave a two-week notice last week that the Fargo-based company’s irrigation water well permits in some of the eight northern Minnesota counties it operates in would require an environmental study, the company announced Wednesday, Aug. 1, that it has withdrawn its request for the final three permits. The company had originally, years ago, asked for many more permits when it first announced its expansion plans, but their requests slowly dwindled. Offutt is one of the region’s biggest operators, with about a third of the company’s 60,000 acres of irrigated potatoes nationwide grown on nine farms in Minnesota. It also has operations in North Dakota and five other states with processing plants in four states. Read more

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