2014 Production Agriculture
Magnusson and his family have been instrumental in the success of the Minnesota grass-seed industry, both as a premier producer of grass and by donating 40 acres of land to establish the Magnusson Research Farm near Roseau. The northern Minnesota turf grass and legume seed production and processing industry currently contributes more than $100 million annually to the region’s economy.
Magnusson, a native of Roseau, attended the University of Minnesota-Crookston and North Dakota State University, graduating in 1983. While in college, Magnusson began working an 80-acre parcel of land, exchanging his labor for use of his father’s machinery. After earning his degree in agronomy, he returned to the family farm and began working in partnership with his father and two brothers. After his father left farming in 1986, Magnusson continued in partnership with his two brothers. Upon the passing of one his brothers in 2004, the partnership was reorganized to become a partnership of Richard Magnusson and his two nephews.
The farm continued to grow to more than 10,000 acres and research has always been a vital part of the operations. Grass seed produced in Minnesota is known for its consistent high quality and for being free of annual bluegrass, a noxious weed in the turf and sod industry. The Magnussons experiment with many varieties and species, using what happens on the research plots to help make decisions about what to plant on the farm. More than 30 different species have been planted, to varying degrees of success.
In 2000, Magnusson and other interested producers organized the RL Growers Cooperative to produce and market grass-seed products across the United States and Europe. Today the 60-member co-op has exclusively licensed six perennial ryegrass varieties released by the University of Minnesota and produces 10,000 to 15,000 acres of ryegrass annually. Magnusson also played a significant role in the formation of Northern Excellence, a grower owned seed cooperative processing plant in Williams, Minn.