Soil and water

Todd County farmer honored as Environmental Farmer of the Year

Waldorf entered two parcels of land, totaling 74 acres, in the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Improvement Program. The land will be permanently protected by a perpetual easement with the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) easement program.

The program will restore up to five wetlands that were previously drained and cultivated. The remaining land will be returned to native grasses and wild flowers. In addition to registering plots in the MNCREP, Waldorf operates a rotational cropping system with minimal tillage.

Waldorf grew up on a small dairy farm in Gordon Township, a few miles from where he currently lives and operates, just east of Osakis. He is the father of two children and married to Lynette. Jim is an active member in local communities. He has been an auctioneer for over 25 years and his wife, Lynette, is a paraprofessional in the Osakis School District.

Jim is a strong supporter of the local FFA chapter. He was a member and his two children were members while growing up.

“I want to keep them (FFA),” Jim said in a press release issued by the Todd County Soil and Water Conservation District. “If we don’t involve children in agriculture, who is going to do it?”

Jim also goes on tractor rides for local fundraising events whenever he can.

Jim started his own farm in the late 1970s. He had just purchased a farm and 50 acres when he was laid off from his construction job. He started milking 11 dairy heads and cultivating 40 acres of grain for use as animal feed. He worked his way up to milking 20 head of cattle and got to the point where it was time to expand the dairy operation or adapt to a new style of farming.

He bought an additional 110 acres, began leasing land, and switching to a beef and cash crop operation. Over the years he was able to purchase additional land and build the farm. At the peak, Jim was growing around 1,000 acres of cash crops and hay while managing a herd of 30 head of beef.

Jim and his children managed the farm with the help of his brother.

Jim has since scaled back his activities. He currently operates 140 acres of cash crops and hay. He no longer manages any cattle. His vision for the future of the farm is to continue to maintain his hay and cash crop lands.

Her son is interested in buying the farm and working on his own farm. When asked why he put the two plots on the program, Jim replied, “I thought it was a good program. Payments were good and the land was marginal. I also want to make room for wildlife. It may not be suitable for everything [every situation], but it was an adjustment for these acres and where I am with my farm.

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