Vicky BoydDick Pavelski (right), a potato grower from Hancock, Wis., congratulates Gregg Halverson of Black Gold Farms.SAN ANTONIO — The head of a large family-owned potato operation known for his innovation and support of education was recognized at the National Potato Council’s annual awards banquet, Jan. 10.
Gregg Halverson, president and chief executive officer of Black Gold Farms, Grand Forks, N.D., received the 2013 Potato Man for All Seasons award from Packer staff writer Vicky Boyd.
The silver bowl is presented by The Packer and TheGrower.com in conjunction with the NPC.
Halverson has been active on the U.S. Potato Board, having served as chairman of the chip committee and helping craft strategies for the committee’s programs and long-term visions
In addition to serving on boards of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association and the NPC, Halverson “has done a lot behind the scenes for the industry and never asks for anything in return,” one colleague said.
Another person, who has worked closely with Halverson on the boards, said he “is exactly the type of grower-leader the (Potato Man for All Seasons) award was created to recognize; he gives freely of his time and expertise to make the industry better.”
Two other colleagues who nominated Halverson said he shares the same passion for North Dakota State University and the Alpha Gamma Rho ag fraternity that he does for potato production.
“He is extremely supportive of education and is very active in providing and supporting scholastic curriculum and advancing our agricultural industry through his participation in scholarship programs,” one colleague wrote.
Among those philanthropic activities is the Halverson Family Foundation, which supports scholarship and local charities.
Halverson’s involvement even filters down to the community level, where he is active in his church and has volunteered at the homeless shelter, among other activities.
“His selfless service to family, others and his community further illustrates this exceptional individual,” said a counterpart in education.
Black Gold Farms, founded by Halverson’s grandfather, A.E. “Hallie” Halverson in 1928, has grown from 10 acres to more than 20,000 acres in 11 states and is one of the world’s largest chip stock producers. The firm also offers trucking logistics and certified seed as well as sweet potatoes and peanuts.
Halverson and Black Gold have received numerous quality and leadership accolades — including the Clem Kuehler Innovation award — over the years from Frito-Lay, for which they grow.
Black Gold Farms also received the 2008 Environmental Stewardship Award from the NPC in recognition of the systematic approach the company uses to enhance production and sustainability.
In 2012, the operation expanded into the fresh market with its value-added red potatoes with McCormick Produce Partners seasoning packets.
The product was nominated for a 2013 Impact Award from the Produce Marketing Association, which recognizes innovative new products.
In October 2013, Black Gold opened a new packing and storage facility in North Fork to handle the expanding fresh-market business.