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Published November 23 2012

Farmers set aside food plots

Wolverton, Minn. - In an era in which many farmers seek to wring productivity out of every bit of land they have, father-son team Dave and Grant Israelson have found it’s sometimes better to take a step back.

“It seems like all the land basically gets farmed,” said Grant, the younger Israelson. “There’s maybe some acreage that shouldn’t be.”

With that in mind, the duo set aside nine acres on their 2,000-acre farmstead three years ago as food plots for local wildlife.

Those efforts, along with their work building buffer strips along the Wolverton Coulee and their participation in Minnesota’s Conservation Reserve Program, earned them recognition from the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District’s Outstanding Conservation Cooperator Program.

They’ll be recognized for the honor at the annual meeting of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Minneapolis on Dec. 4.

The farm has been in the family since the late 19th century. Grant’s grandparents moved there in 1947. Today, the Israelsons grow wheat, soybeans, corn and sugar beets.

Over the past decade, they’ve put in a mile of buffer strips along the coulee, and 30 acres of buffer strips along the Red River.

They established the wildlife area about three years ago, planting alfalfa, corn and soybeans and leaving them untended for wildlife, mainly deer, to eat.

Grant Israelson said it was nice to be recognized for the practice.

“It’s something that not a lot of people do anymore,” he said. “It’s just nice to have something to keep the deer around during the winter and give them a food source.”

The Wilkin conservation district is based in Breckenridge. Wolverton is located about 23 miles south of Fargo.