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Team Members Partner with Communities to Mark 701 Day

Team Members Partner with Communities to Mark 701 Day

1 Jul 2024 Author: RDO Equipment Co. Read time: 4 min

In countless farming towns, dealers are part of the fabric of the community as they meet the needs of their friends and neighbors. That’s why despite impressive growth since it was founded in 1968, RDO Equipment Co. celebrates its rich heritage in North Dakota. It now has 11 stores in the state (six of which focus on agricultural equipment) among its 80 total locations in Arizona, California, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

“RDO’s roots are firmly planted in North Dakota agriculture -- our first store was in Casselton, and we serve many of the same farmers or their families from that location today,” says Brian Bjordal, general manager of the Moorhead, Minn., location on the North Dakota border. “Our founder, Ron Offutt, began his career as a potato farmer and has always seen himself as a farmer first and a businessman second, so RDO and North Dakota agriculture are pretty closely tied.” 

North Dakota is one of 12 states with only one area code – 701. The state celebrates its rich history and agricultural tradition each year on July 1, or 701 Day, with events throughout the state. 

"As all of us know (if you live in North Dakota), we only have one area code in our state, and we are one of the few that have it, so when it comes to July 1t (7/01)t it’s kind of an unofficial holiday to celebrate North Dakota and the things that make it unique and fun and really just what locals love about it,” says Alicia Joliffe, social strategist for North Dakota Tourism. 

RDO first became involved with 701 Day two years ago. 

“It’s a celebration of the history of the state, in which agriculture plays a big role,” Bjordal says. “And, of course, our goal in being involved in 701 Day is to help everyone learn more about that history, the importance of agriculture to the state and what it takes to grow food to feed all of us.” 

Dealerships in the state do this by introducing the public, particularly those who aren’t regularly involved in agriculture, to the machinery and technology that supports farmers. Fargo, the largest city in the state, closes downtown streets for the event. 

“We typically deliver a tractor for display on Broadway Square, right beside RDO’s Field Support Office,” he says. “During the event, businesses like RDO and community organizations work together to make the event family friendly with opportunities to engage and educate visitors of all ages about equipment and North Dakota’s agriculture industry.” 

The display always attracts attention. 

“Most folks in North Dakota have seen a tractor, but having one planted on Broadway Square in the middle of downtown Fargo always turns heads,” Bjordal says. “And even those who are familiar with farm machinery might not know a lot about today’s high-tech equipment or digital farming and its effect on improving crop yields and soil health. 701 Day was a natural partnership to highlight the fantastic work of and partnership between equipment professionals and farmers.” 

RDO and its team members operate with a stakeholder philosophy, considering the effect every business has on each stakeholder, including communities 

“These types of events that bring several of our stakeholders together are really a homerun for us,” he says. “On 701 Day, we get to celebrate the shared history of the state while also supporting our community and bringing recognition to our customers. It’s a real win-win situation.” 

Bjordal encourages other dealers to ask their customers and team members what community events are important to them and then find ways to become involved. 

“From there, I’d determine which of those events make sense from a dealer perspective

-- what kind of contribution could a dealer make that is truly unique?” he says. “And then I’d get in touch with the event organizers to learn more about the goals of the event and how a dealer might be able to provide that unique contribution and make a real difference. If there’s a fit and the dealer decides to move forward, then I’d be sure to put together an employee-led group to make sure that the event comes together and has the people and resources required.” Although things can get hectic during the growing season, RDO finds that everyone benefits from taking time to pause and remember why they are in this business in the first place. 

“RDO participates in 701 Day because it’s such a natural partnership to showcase agriculture equipment,” Bjordal says. “701 Day is just one example where RDO encourages its team members to connect with their customers through community-driven events — across our company footprint, we’re always looking out for opportunities to participate in meaningful events like this. Our team members appreciate opportunities to get more involved in our communities, and events like our 701 Day provide just that.” 

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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