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Trio of ag friends help Red River Valley grow taller

Three agricultural businessmen in northern Red River Valley have forged an unusual bond of friendship, forged through more than a half-century of ties among generations of families, each blazing trails in their own lanes, writes Mikkel Pates in an article published by The Dickinson Press.

The three are based in Grand Forks, N.D., and East Grand Forks, Minn. — three separate stories of agribusiness success:

  • Gregg Halverson, 71, chairman of the board of Black Gold Farms, which has potato and sweet potato farming interests in about 11 states.
  • Mike Delisle, 65, is president for Harriston-Mayo Manufacturing, of East Grand Forks, Minn., and Minto, N.D., making specialized potato handling equipment, sold across the world.
  • John Botsford, 67, founder of Red River Land Co., a pioneer in land appraisal and real estate business in the region.

In a common story in agriculture, their fathers or even grandfathers knew each other back to the 1950s. The difference comes in how they’ve been able to talk about their businesses, because they don’t compete and never have.

They remember their 20s and 30s, and running into each other at the familiar agricultural gatherings — the Red River Valley Winter Shows at Crookston, Minn., or the North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City, N.D. They’d meet at the Red River Valley Potato Growers (now the Northern Plains Potato Growers) field days or annual winter conferences at the Holiday Inn in Fargo.

This week and the next, Mikkel Pates will review the intersecting circles made by three of the region’s most successful ag businesses. He starts this week with Halverson. Next week, it’ll be Delisle and Botsford.

Pates’ piece on Halverson is titled: “Halverson: Spuds, across the U.S.

Source: The Dickenson Press. Read the full article here

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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