North Dakota State University alumnus Gregg Halverson is set to receive an honorary doctorate during winter commencement ceremonies Friday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m. in the Bison Sports Arena. An honorary degree recognizes an individual associated with the state of North Dakota who has achieved distinction.
Halverson, BS ’71, animal science, is president and CEO of Black Gold Farms, a family-owned potato growing and marketing organization headquartered in Grand Forks, N.D. Black Gold Farms specializes in potato production with 11 U.S. production locations spread from North Dakota to Texas and from Florida to Maryland along the Eastern Seaboard. The operation grows more than 20,000 acres of potatoes, plus various other crops. Black Gold Farms is the world’s largest producer of fresh crop chipping potatoes.
With a family farm background, Halverson graduated from Midway High School near Forest River, N.D., in 1967.
He has served in leadership capacities with many professional and civic organizations and is the recipient of numerous industry awards. Black Gold Farms and its associates have been globally recognized for supplier innovation and leadership in the potato industry. Black Gold Farms is known for its adoption of advanced technology in chip potato production and handling innovation in the chip potato industry. In 2002, the company introduced a system of growing, bulk handling and transportation of chip potatoes in Inner Mongolia, People’s Republic of China.
Black Gold Farms received the 2008 Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Potato Council in recognition of the systematic approach the company employs with respect to potato production and sustainability. In 2009, the World Potato Congress in Christchurch, New Zealand, presented Halverson with the Industry Award in recognition of his lifetime contributions to the potato industry. He was inducted into the North Dakota Agriculture Hall of fame in 2011. He was recently elected an Honorary Life Member of the Potato Association of America. Most recently, he received the Top Producer of the Year award from Farm Journal Media in recognition of his leadership in the field of agriculture in the U.S.
Halverson has two sons and one daughter in the Black Gold Farms organization. John, Paragould, Ark., is operations vice president, responsible for Midwest production. Eric, Grand Forks, N.D., is executive vice president and is in charge of all equipment and advanced technology. Leah, Fargo, is the company’s marketing specialist.