Spudman 7: Gregg Halverson
Gregg Halverson is president and chairman of the board of Black Gold Farms, a family owned potato growing and marketing organization headquartered in Grand Forks North Dakota. Black Gold Farms specializes in potato production with 11 U.S. production locations spread from North Dakota to Texas in the middle of the country and Florida to Maryland on the Eastern Seaboard.
Halverson has a family farm background. He graduated from Midway High School near Forest River, North Dakota in 1967 and North Dakota State University in Fargo in 1971 with a degree in agriculture.
All three of Gregg’s children are a part of the Black Gold Farms organization: John, of Paragould, Arkansas, is the chief operations officer; Eric, of Grand Forks, is the chief executive officer; Leah is the marketing and communications specialist on the sales and marketing team. He has eight granddaughters.
Halverson enjoys traveling with his wife, Yvonne, spending time with his granddaughters, tailgating at NDSU football and adding to his extensive collection of antique potato chip cans, purportedly the world’s largest single collection, now numbering in excess of 1,000 individual potato chip cans.
What are the best words of advice you’ve received?
My dad and mentor, Jack Halverson, more than once implored me to do it right … the first time.” No matter what “it” was, from mowing the lawn, to doing the dishes to planting potatoes. I believe this is really good advice for anyone.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
During the next 12 months we have many customers to satisfy, and to do that effectively we will plant, grow, harvest and successfully ship the 2016 potato crop with minimal issues. Those tasks will keep the entire Black Gold team and myself very busy for the next 12 months.
What do you do to relax?
I enjoy reading, interacting with my eight granddaughters and traveling with my wife, Yvonne.
What would you like to be your lasting legacy?
Being known as an innovative potato farmer who has a passion for potatoes.
What job or work would you have pursued if you had not become involved in the potato industry?
I started grading potatoes when I was tall enough to see over the grader. I could not visualize myself doing anything but being a part of our wonderful potato industry.
What are three things on your bucket list/must to do list?
1) Visit my ancestral homeland in Norway. 2) Watch the Minnesota Vikings win a Super Bowl (for that I might need to live many, many additional years). 3) Be a part of the growth of my granddaughters.
What is the one truth you have learned about the potato industry?
Each year is different and therefore every potato crop is different. Because of this fact, as managers of the crop, we never cease learning about the nuances of potato production. Hopefully through this continuing education we will have the ability to sustainably share this wonderful vegetable, which we call the potato, throughout the world.