Ed Schafer is the first recipient of a North Dakota Agricultural Hall of Fame "Special Service Award". Ed Schafer was sworn in as the 29th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on January 28, 2008 and served until January of 2009. He is the first North Dakotan to serve in that position. Born and raised in Bismarck, ND, he graduated from UND in 1969 with a degree in Business Administration and earned an MBA from the University of Denver in 1970. Before entering public life Mr. Schafer was an executive with the Gold Seal Company in Bismarck, becoming president in 1978. Under his leadership, Gold Seal sales climbed to $50 million through acquisitions and new product introductions. Mr. Schafer was elected and served as North Dakota´s governor from 1992 to 2000 and made diversifying and expanding North Dakota´s economy, reducing the cost of government and advancing agriculture his top priorities. He worked to normalize trading relations with China and develop that nation as an export market for North Dakota farm products. He encouraged the growth of value-added agricultural industries such as pasta and corn sweeteners. After leaving office in 2000 he co-founded a company that worked to provide wireless voice and high-speed data services to commercial and residential customers in five Midwestern states. He has also served as a director of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation and became active in leading several other nonprofit and citizen advocacy groups in North Dakota.
Year Inducted: 2010