R.D. Offutt plants largest Operation Pollinator project in U.S.

R.D. Offutt Co., the largest potato grower in the United States, recently built the largest Operation Pollinator project in the country to provide a habitat for bees and other pollinators to thrive. 

The project utilizes the corners of the company's potato fields where irrigation systems typically do not reach. 

“It was a natural fit and just made sense to turn buffer cropland into havens for pollinators,” Vince Restucci, director of procurement and business technology for R.D. Offutt, said. “These habitats will not only help bees and other pollinators thrive, they’ll also provide a protective environment for wildlife."

Syngenta developed Operation Pollinator more than 12 years ago.

“Frankly, even small areas less than an acre can make a difference," Caydee Savinelli, pollinator and IPM stewardship lead for Syngenta, said. "If more areas like these were used for Operation Pollinator plots, there would be additional forage and habitat for honey bees, native bees and other pollinators.

As part of Operation Pollinator, regional wildflowers are used to create essential habitats and restore pollinators on commercial farmland and a variety of other landscapes, such as golf courses.

"Operation Pollinator is a perfect illustration of how agriculture and biodiversity can coexist,” Savinelli said. "In addition to helping pollinators, it benefits the environment, reducing soil erosion and helping protect valuable water resources."

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