The first in Becker County
When Dale and Beth Rengstorf applied to have their ranch north of Pelican Rapids certified under the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP), Dale was given a list of questions to answer about how they managed their 2,200-acre agricultural operation, and learned what they would have to do to meet the standards of the program.
The answer? Very little.
"The way I was already doing things met all of their requirements (for certification)," said Rengstorf, who raises a herd of about 700 head of bison on the property, using the land for pasture and hay.
Last month, the Rolling R Ranch became the first farm in Becker County to be certified under the state-run water quality program.
The ranch, which is located in the southwest corner of Becker County — with small amounts of grazing land extending into Otter Tail and Clay counties as well — has been in operation for 31 years now. At the time, Dale decided to switch to raising bison instead of pigs because "I wanted to get into something that would have a better return (on investment)," he said. "I was in the hog business, raising feeder pigs, and it was taking up a lot of my time. It was very labor intensive."
By contrast, bison are pretty self sufficient, he added, noting that they get most of their nourishment through grazing. "They mostly eat grass, but toward the end (right before selling them) I finish them with grain," he says.
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