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Ron Offutt Recognized for Lifelong Contributions to Agriculture Industry

Ron Offutt Recognized for Lifelong Contributions to Agriculture Industry

27 Mar 2024 Author: RDO Equipment Co. Read time: 4 min

Ron Offutt, founder and chairman of R.D. Offutt Company and RDO Equipment Co., was honored earlier this year with two industry and community awards for his contributions to the agriculture industry both in the Midwest and across the U.S. Farm Equipment Magazine named Offutt to its inaugural Hall of Fame class, and Fargo, North Dakota, nonprofit Emerging Prairie awarded Offutt the Lifetime Impact Award. Both awards highlight Offutt’s unmatched leadership and how he helped agriculture grow into today’s precision technology era through his farming and equipment businesses.  

In addition to these awards, RDO and industry leaders reflected on Offutt’s contributions and ongoing legacy over his nearly 60 years of leadership.  

Growing a Business   

Offutt crafted his leadership skills while working on his family farm before venturing into the business world. In 1968, he bought his first store and founded RDO Equipment Co. From the get-go, he focused on building a business that succeeds financially while serving the community.  

“His unique experience building a company from just one equipment store in North Dakota to the national and global presence it has today is a testament to his true calling as a leader and entrepreneur,” said R.D. Offutt Company’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Curoe.  

Curoe highlights Offutt’s innate competitiveness and awe-inspiring ability to sniff out a quality business opportunity as key characteristics of Offutt’s approach to business.  

“He was a competitive wrestler and a football player growing up. He loves a good challenge and building a team’s capabilities to take on that challenge,” Curoe said. “This idea of banding together toward a common goal is the foundation for one of our core values: that we play to win.”  

President of RDO Equipment Co. Chris Cooper echoes this.  

One of the things I love about RDO is that it’s driven by Ron’s entrepreneurial spirit, where people are encouraged to create solutions for customers,” Cooper said. “As our footprint has grown, our success can be largely attributed to the daily decisions our team members make at the local level to meet our customers’ needs.”  

RDO now has more than 3,400 team members working across multiple locations, each empowered to serve customers in the best way possible.  

Casey Seymour, owner of Moving Iron LLC, shares his reaction to Offutt’s ability to grow different businesses.  

It's been an amazing feat to watch how his business has grown domestically and internationally,” Seymour says. “The folks I've worked with from RDO have always seemed to know the 'guide rails' while being trusted to operate freely. That’s evidence of a strong top-down mentality where local leaders are empowered to make things happen.”  

Building Relationships

Offutt will be among the first to admit that trusted relationships and strong partnerships are crucial to his legacy. Curoe emphasizes Offutt’s people-first approach in how he listens carefully and truly seeks to understand the interests and needs of others.  

“This translates into long-term partnerships with our customers, team members, manufacturers and communities,” Curoe said. “There are RDO customers that we have supported for generations, which speaks volumes about our importance on relationships.”  

Cooper finds inspiration in how Offutt influences the growth of other RDO leaders through his commitment to care for stakeholders.  

“He grew this business from the ground up, and our leaders today are tremendously inspired by his example,” Cooper said. “They see how focusing on relationships, service and integrity pays off over the long term. They adapt that approach and work to pass it on to the next generation of leaders.”  

Cooper explains that team members at every level can share a memory of an interaction with Offutt.  

“I think part of what makes those experiences so memorable is the fact that Ron is about as 'down-to-Earth' as they come,” he said. “Initially, people can be stunned by how genuine he is."  

Cooper says Ron treats everyone he meets with respect and integrity. "That’s who he is. That’s how he works, and that’s the type of culture he’s infused into RDO over the years," he said.  

Investing in Communities

RDO operates with a stakeholder philosophy, meaning each stakeholder's needs are considered with every business decision. “Ron has long supported the stakeholder philosophy championed by his daughter, Christi Offutt, who served as CEO of RDO Equipment Co. for almost two decades,” Curoe said. “Throughout our business, we are always looking for ways to add value to different stakeholder groups, one of which is our communities.”  

Since 2008, the Offutt Family Foundation has committed to improving the quality of life in communities where RDO does business. RDO team members are engaged in this through the Foundation’s Community Builder program, where team members are encouraged to nominate causes in their communities for grant consideration. Since 2015, through the Community Builder program, the Offutt Family Foundation has awarded $1.4 million in grants to nonprofits and causes that RDO team members are passionate about.  

RDO team members also find guidance in the company’s core values, first derived from how Offutt has done business since the beginning.

“It may sound cliché, but our values are truly more than just words on a wall, and that becomes clear when you talk to our team members about their work,” Curoe said.” “They believe in these values and strive to live them every day."  

Curoe shares that for all his deal-making and competitiveness, Offutt is a man of utmost integrity first.  

"Today, that’s reflected in everything we do — how we treat our team members, make deals, and care for customers and all other stakeholders,” he said.  

RDO Equipment Co.

Founded in 1968, RDO Equipment Co. sells and supports intelligently connected agriculture, construction, environmental, irrigation, positioning, and surveying equipment from leading manufacturers, including John Deere, Vermeer, and Topcon. With more than 80 locations across the U.S. and partnerships in Africa, Australia, Mexico and Ukraine, we deliver creative solutions so our customers can grow and build the world.  

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