Friggstad, Olaf (1921-)

Olaf Friggstad, farm machinery innovator and manufacturer, was born at Frontier on June 29, 1921. In May 1970, Olaf and two of his sons founded Friggstad Manufacturing Ltd. Their mainstay product was the Friggstad cultivator, designed to cope with stony land and trash cover; the cultivator's unique design allowed flexibility between the sections, assuring even penetration. The Friggstad product line gained such respect in western Canada, the United States and Australia that within twelve years production staff at the Frontier plant grew from six to 180. The presence of the Friggstad plant greatly helped the economy of Frontier and southwest Saskatchewan. The company's other two plants in Havre (Montana) and Fargo (North Dakota) had 100 employees. The firm diversified into rock pickers, bale wagons, land levellers, tine harrows, and air seeders. When Saskatchewan agriculture was forced into rapid retrenchment by the recession of the 1980s, the Friggstad firm went into receivership; however, its assets, including advanced machinery designs, were purchased for use by Flexi-Coil.

Olaf Friggstad served as reeve of the Rural Municipality of Frontier, board member of the Prairie Implement Manufacturers Association, chairman of the Frontier Credit Union, chairman of the Wheat Pool Committee, chairman of the Frontier Co-operative, Sunday school superintendent, deacon of the Bethel Lutheran Church, and zone leader of Gideons International. For thirty-five years he travelled extensively as a lay evangelist to churches, conferences, and Bible camps. In 1981 he was named an honorary life member of the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists in recognition of his contributions to the farming industry of the province. In 1982 he was installed as a Member of the Order of Canada. In 1988 he was made an honorary life member of Gideons International in Canada, and in 1997 he was inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Peter Borch, Daria Coneghan

Further Reading

Friggstad, O. 1997. Faith When Dreams Die. Altona, MB: Friesen Printers.