(EDITOR'S NOTE: This article, written by Farm Equipment's Dave Kanicki, originally appeared as a sidebar article within "RDO Equipment: People are Key to Growth," April/May 2007, Farm Equipment, p. 10-18. It has been updated to include recent acquisitions.)
The Offutt family had been in the potato business for four generations when Ronald Offutt, Sr., moved his family from Missouri to Moorhead, Minn., in 1946 to take advantage of the Red River Valley's potential and expand its farming operations.
"After college, I farmed with my father for 3 years before I bought
the first dealership in 1968," says Ron D. Offutt, chairman and
founder of RDO Equipment Co.
"It was in the fall of the year and I stopped by the John Deere store in Casselton, N.D. The owner was a friend of the family, and he told me he was going to retire. He was a good equipment dealer and the first in the country to rent farm equipment. He suggested that if I wanted to buy the dealership, he would stick around for 6 months and teach me the business, and he did," says Offutt.
The rest, you might say, is history. Here's a timeline of how RDO
Equipment Co. has grown and expanded during the past 39 years.
. Ron Offutt buys Casselton, N.D. ag equipment store.
. Acquires three ag stores in Breckenridge and Barnesville, Minn., and Fargo, N.D
. Opens two ag dealerships in Lisbon and Kindred, N.D.
. Acquires two ag stores in Bismarck and Washburn, N.D.
. Acquires first four construction equipment (CE) stores in Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot, N.D.
. Acquires one ag/CE store in Aberdeen, S.D.
. Acquires three CE stores in Burnsville, Rochester, St. Cloud, Minn.
. Acquires five CE stores in Mankato, Minn., Flagstaff, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., Sioux Falls, S.D.
. Acquires one ag/CE store in Rapid City, S.D.
. Acquires two CE stores in Riverside and San Diego, Calif.
. Opens one CE store in Prescott, Ariz.
. Acquires two ag stores in Pasco and Sunnyside, Wash.
. Acquires three CE Stores in Irving, Fort Worth and Waco, Texas
. Opens two CE Stores in Brawley, Calif., Marshall, Minn.
. Initial Public Offering with 11 ag stores, 21 CE stores 1997-99
. Acquires six ag stores
. Acquires seven CE stores
. Acquires five material handling stores
. Acquires 13 CE Rental stores
. Acquires nine truck operations
. Sells CE rental stores
. Sells truck stores (except those in North Dakota)
. Takes company private
. Acquires one ag store in Redfield, S.D.
. Acquires one CE Store in Chandler, Ariz.
. Acquires five Vermeer stores in California (includes Hawaii and Northern California territories)
. Acquires one Vermeer store in Portland, Ore.
. Sells two Nebraska Material Handling stores
. Opened Moorhead, Min. ag/CE flagship store
. Acquires ag store in Fergus Falls, Minn.
. Acquires ag store in, Ada, Minn.