The North Dakota Agriculture Hall of Fame Committee has selected the nominees that will be inducted into the North Dakota Agriculture Hall of Fame, in 2015. The nominees are John Bollingberg, of Bremen, ND and Ron Offutt, of Fargo, ND.
Ronald Offutt, of Fargo, ND, is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the R. D. Offutt Company, the nation’s largest producer of potatoes. The company is comprised of a variety of businesses divided into three separate operating units: agriculture, food processing and retail equipment. Its cornerstone is a nine-state 190,000 acre farming operation, with the majority of its 60,000 potato acres under center pivot irrigation.
Part of the farming operation includes a 34,000 acre farm and dairy operation in Boardman, Oregon, which consists of three dairies, milking 25,000 cows. The company also operates food processing manufacturing plants and markets its crops through relationships with major processors, such as Frito-Lay, Simplot, Con-Agra/Lamb-Weston and McCain Foods.
Internationally, RDO formed a joint venture with Calbee Corporation in 2006, to build a plant in Boardman, Oregon, to source potato product for snack food in Japan and other markets. This has expanded to the formation of Calbee North America and an additional plant in Fairfield, CA. RDO operates a 22,000 acre farm in Krasnodar, Russia as well.
Ron Offutt is also the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of RDO Equipment Co. Founded in 1968, this company owns the largest network of John Deere construction and agricultural equipment dealerships in the country. Vermeer, Topcon and Volvo and Mack truck centers are also integral operations of the company, which now have over sixty US locations, in nine states.
Additionally, RDO Equipment Co. is a John Deere Agricultural and Construction Equipment dealer and importer in the South Federal District of Russia, with ten total locations, including three locations in Ukraine. In November of 2012 RDO Equipment Co. created a partnership with Vanderfield Pty Ltd., acquiring nine John Deere Agriculture dealerships in Queensland, Australia.
Ron, a native of Orrick, Missouri, grew up on his family’s farm in Moorhead, Minnesota. He attended Moorhead High School and graduated from Concordia College in 1964, with a degree in Economics.
He is the former Chairman of the Board of Regents of Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, where he has served his alma mater for over twenty years on its board. Currently he is a member of the Global Leadership Board of the Offutt School of Business at Concordia College and a member of the Board of Regents.
He has received numerous awards, including the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, Northwest Farm Managers Pioneer of the Year Award, NDSU’s Harvest Bowl AgriBusiness Award, Red River Valley Development Association Builder of the Year, Midwest Region Entrepreneur of the Year, ND Entrepreneur Hall of Fame and the World Potato Congress Potato Industry Award. Ron continues to be active in the community, serving on multiple other boards and dedicates his time to several organizations and charities. He and his wife Karen, have six children and eleven grandchildren.
John Bollingberg, of Bremen, ND, was nominated by the ND Farm Bureau. For more than six decades, John has been working for agriculture. Born and raised on a family farm near Bremen, ND, he earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in 1955 from NDAC, currently NDSU. After graduating, he returned to the family farm and became actively involved in community and state relations.
John was a founder of Northland Seed Company and a long-time member of the ND Ag Coalition, representing the ND Edible Bean Growers Council. In 1986, he was part of a select group of ND agricultural leaders who met privately with President Ronald Reagan, to discuss trade issues with regard to edible beans. He has served on numerous state and national boards, including the ND Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association and American Oat Association. In addition he has served on many local boards, including the Bremen Elevator, Wells County Crop Improvement, Wells County Farm Bureau, Bremen Elevator and Bremen School Board. He has been a consistent supporter of agricultural youth groups and served on the Commission on the Future of Agriculture as well.
Since retiring in 1998, John continues his support of agriculture by serving on the State Board of Agricultural Research and Education (SBARE), as a Nodak Mutual Insurance Company Director and on the Atmospheric Resource Board. In 2006 he was honored with NDSU’s Harvest Bowl Agri-Business Award. He and his wife, Margaret, have six children and eighteen grandchildren.
The induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 7, 2015, at 1:45 pm, in the main arena of the North Dakota Winter Show Event Center, in Valley City, ND. The ceremony takes place during the 78th Annual North Dakota Winter Show, this year scheduled for March 3-8. For additional information contact the NDWS office, at 1-800-437-0218, or view www.northdakotawintershow.com.