Ron Offutt, a Fargo, N.D.-based potato grower and businessman, has won the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association’s Meritorious Service Award.

Offutt is the chairman and founder of Fargo-based R.D. Offutt Co., the nation’s largest potato producer, according to the East Grand Forks, Minn.-based association.

Offutt Co. grows potatoes on 54,000 acres in several states.

In July 2010, Offutt Co. acquired the assets of East Grand Forks-based Ryan Potato Co.

In addition to his work in the potato industry, Offutt is being honored for his charity work, which has included generous donations to  Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and North Dakota State University in Fargo. 

Offutt also is a major sponsor of Farm Rescue, an organization that plants and harvests crops free of charge for family growers who have suffered a major illness, injury or natural disaster.