Goodrich Place Angus and Quarter Horses is the evolution of a commitment to agriculture by four generations of the Goodrich family. The current GP Ranch is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication to the Angus breed. To understand how GP came to be, one needs to examine the lives of the families that make this organization thrive. These are the biographies of the two co-founding families.
Richard and Joyce Goodrich
Richard D. Goodrich was born the son of Douglas and Rebecca (Hines) Goodrich on July 2, 1936. He was raised on a dairy farm near New Richmond, Wisconsin, while only a short distance away, his future wife, Joyce Relander, was also raised on a dairy farm nearby. In fact, the two met at the Wisconsin State Fair while they were teenagers showing cattle. Thus, cattle had always been a major part of Richard and Joyce's lives. When they were married in 1956, Richard remained focused on cattle through his studies in animal science. Richard was destined to become an expert in the livestock industry. He received his B.S. degree in Agricultural Education with a minor in Biology from Wisconsin State University at River Falls in 1958. He received his M.S. degree in 1962 from South Dakota State University with a major in Animal Science, and his Ph.D. degree in 1965, from Oklahoma State University with a major in Animal Nutrition and supporting work in Biochemistry, Physiology, and Statistics.
Richard joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota in 1965 and was promoted to professor in 1971. During his tenure at Minnesota, he directed basic and applied ruminant nutrition research, was an innovative and popular undergraduate teacher of various aspects of animal science, and consulted with agricultural leaders and students in the United States, Europe, Russia and Africa. He coordinated the instruction in the team-taught Introductory Animal Science course. In addition, he taught courses in Animal Care, Ruminant Nutrition (undergraduate), and Nutrition for Veterinary Medicine Students, Ruminant Nutrition (graduate students), Laboratory Analyses of Feedstuffs, Mineral Nutrition, and Current Concepts and Developments in Ruminant Nutrition. Dr. Goodrich's expertise in ruminant nutrition attracted many special grants to Minnesota. He served on the Editorial Board and Board of Directors, ASAS, the Committee on Animal Nutrition and the Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle Committee, NRC, six different ASAS committees, and as President of the Midwestern section, ASAS. Dr. Goodrich was appointed Head of the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota on July 1, 1983 and remained in that position until his death in 1996.
During his short lifetime, Richard made many personal achievements. Speaking invitations took him to over twenty states, Canada, Morocco, England, Italy, Egypt, and Russia. Richard received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the University of Minnesota in 1969, the Animal Management Award, ASAS in 1977, the Horace T. Morse-Amoco Foundation Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Teaching in 1979, the Graduate of Distinction Award from Oklahoma State University in 1991, and he was inducted into the Minnesota Livestock Hall of Fame in 1995. His unique approach to research, teaching, international programs, and departmental administration reflected his broad experiences in all aspects of animal science.
Richard enjoyed maintaining a small, registered Angus herd with his wife, Joyce, and sons, Mark and John. He applied the immense knowledge he gained in his teaching, research, and speaking work to his own Angus herd. While Richard was focused on international agriculture which often took him away from home, Joyce performed the many necessary tasks to maintain the herd. The Goodrich family sadly lost Richard to pancreatic cancer on February 13, 1996. It is because of his efforts in animal science and his love of Angus that the Goodrich family chose to create GP Angus in honor of his life's work and that of those ancestors who came before him.
Joyce A. Goodrich was born the daughter of Bill and Bert (Swanson) Relander on March 28, 1937. She was raised with registered Holstein cattle on the edge of Boardman, Wisconsin, where she could regularly be found riding her pony. She showed cattle growing up, often winning many awards. Her love of cattle never wavered and continued throughout her life.
Early on in their marriage, Joyce became an elementary school teacher, and she first taught in a small town in South Dakota before teaching at St. John's the Baptist Elementary in New Brighton, Minnesota, for almost 30 years. As a teacher, she was known for her creative and fun learning centers and her unique, hands-on teaching style. Her teaching spirit was evident as her children and grandchildren were often whisked away on amazing learning adventures to the Science Museum, Gibbs Farm and so many more.
Even though she was a busy, hard-working elementary teacher, she always found time to keep a watchful eye on the herd. She was still chasing cattle the day before she moved on to heaven. When she retired from teaching, she became instrumental in the daily operation of the farm as Mark and Claudine had full time jobs some sixty miles away. Joyce loved walking the several-mile-long lane system and connecting pastures between the two GP homesteads and exploring the variety of foliage and wildlife. She was a cattleman, through and through, because she never tired of being with the cattle, even at age 77.
Joyce was also a faithful member of Immanuel Lutheran Church. She was very active and devoted to her church and loved playing piano for services and programs. Joyce was also a proud member of the Order of the Eastern Star, and she enjoyed playing bridge with her wide network of incredible friends. In 2002, Joyce met her dear friend, Don Eliason, and they shared hours of enjoyment together. Joyce was the family matriarch and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren meant everything to her. Sadly, Joyce passed away on December 17, 2014, of an aneurism. Her love of life and genuine fun-loving spirit is greatly missed by all who were fortunate enough to know her.
Mark and Claudine Goodrich
Mark S. Goodrich was born the son of Richard and Joyce Goodrich on March 12, 1957, in New Richmond, Wisconsin. GP is the result of his dream created almost fifty years earlier. President and co-founder of GP, Mark Goodrich, was a tenacious and determined adolescent. It is these qualities, coupled with intense knowledge and love of cattle, that stimulated a desire to excel in the beef industry. As a boy in junior high school, Mark would hide issues of the Angus Journal in his school books and study pedigrees constantly. However, Mark lived in the city of New Brighton, Minnesota, so to own a beef animal would be an impossible feat, but the obsession continued. Eventually, Mark's early passion for cattle and the cowboy lifestyle would develop an important, crucial resource: a deep understanding of livestock genetics.
Mark's interest in beef cattle was sparked because of his father's involvement in the livestock industry. Mark's father, Richard, was an animal nutritionist and Head of the Animal Science Department at the University of Minnesota. It was ultimately Richard's career choice that directed Mark, as a young child, toward his passion. While Richard was obtaining his Master's degree from South Dakota State University and then his Doctorate's degree from Oklahoma State University (OSU), Mark would follow along to the feedlots, research trials, and research centers. During the days when Mark wasn't with his father, he would sneak up to the campuses and spend time with the cattle and cattlemen there. The elite beef programs, at OSU especially, made a profound impact on Mark's desire to become a cattleman. These experiences allowed a door to open in Mark's life that would ultimately become his life's dedication, raising registered Angus cattle.
In 1969, Mark, a mere 12 years old, was able to purchase his first Angus female, Sungirl of the Valley, from Norman Christiansen for $250 with money he earned managing a paper route. Since Mark lived in the city, Mark's grandfather, Douglas, who owned a dairy farm in New Richmond, Wisconsin, raised Sungirl and one calf until 1973. Richard and Joyce decided to purchase a farm of their own in Scandia, Minnesota, because they were determined to help nurture Mark's interest in beef cattle.
During his high school years, Mark was actively involved with the cattle. In 1973, Mark obtained a job working at Kelley Land and Cattle Company under the guidance of Maurice Grogan. Mark's responsibility was as an assistant herdsman, and he was responsible for the registered Hereford show cattle. These were some of the elite Herefords in the United States at the time. Maurice Grogan, an elite cattleman all of his life, taught Mark all the basics and practical management skills it would take to run a beef herd. Mark still draws on this knowledge today.
While in high school, Mark was busy participating in events such as FFA where he earned a Regional Award for Production of Livestock, 4-H and livestock shows, yet he still managed to find time to meet a girl by the name of Claudine Wojtowicz. At age 15, they fell in love instantly. Together, they forged a strong desire to be involved with the Angus. In fact, at the age of 16, the two purchased Emulous of Shadyland 84 from Harold Niefeld for $2,100. By the time Mark and Claudine graduated from high school and married in 1975, they owned 20 Angus females together.
There were many cattlemen who influenced the direction and philosophy that this young couple embraced. First, Murray and Bill Corbin of Connerville, Oklahoma, left a lasting impact because of their unique breeding philosophy--these men were truly grassroot cattlemen. Mark and Claudine visited Tail N Ranch in 2006 and felt they were on hallowed Angus ground. This ranch is where Ankonian Dynamo, Emulation 31, Emulous 178, and many other breed greats were born. Second, as mentioned earlier, Maurice Grogan left a deep impression because of his hands-on cattle knowledge and techniques. Maurice spent a lot of individual time simply talking and explaining the cattle industry to a teenager, Mark. To this day, Mark is extremely thankful for the insight Maurice provided. Third, Doug and Molly Hoff greatly affected the genetic and breed developmental ideas that Mark and Claudine uphold. The Hoffs were courageous and dedicated leaders for the Angus breed. Their conviction to raising and breeding real world cattle has impressed the Goodrich couple to this day. Mark had many long conversations about Angus genetics with Doug and Molly. Finally, there are two very special people, Mike and Mary Ann Jay, who have been faithful friends and supporters. Without them, the couple would not be where they are today. There are many other influential people like Tom Burke, Roy Wallace, Dr. Robert Long, Kevin Stork, Jay and Harold Niefeld to name a few. There are numerous other cattlepeople who provided valuable knowledge. Mark and Claudine are deeply grateful to these people for their commitment, support, and insights in the cattle industry.
This impenetrable young couple moved to New Richmond, Wisconsin, where in 1977, Mark began working for Select Sires, the world's largest cooperative bull stud and semen distributing company. Mark began as an artificial inseminator, and then became a Sales Representative until 1979, when he was promoted to a Regional Managing Director at age 21. For the next six years, Mark was able to travel the country, and he became familiar with some of the best cattlemen and Angus herds in the United States. This opportunity allowed him to experience all facets of the breeding end of the dairy and beef industry. This wealth of information and experience added to the foundation of his breeding philosophy.
In 1985, Mark and Claudine made a decision to move themselves and their three young children -- Christine, Melinda, and Jesse -- from New Richmond, Wisconsin, to Scandia, Minnesota, where they began working with Mark's parents and their small herd of Angus cattle. After Richard passed away from pancreatic cancer in 1996, Mark, Claudine, and Joyce made a life-altering decision to join their resources to forge a new cattle venture. It was agreed upon by all members that united, the Goodrich family would begin an agriculture enterprise in Emerald, Wisconsin, to focus on raising performance-oriented, registered Angus cattle and Quarter horses. And so, in 1998, GP Angus and Quarter Horses officially became a reality.
Claudine L. Goodrich was born the daughter of Leonard and Betty (Buetow) Wojtowicz on April 20, 1957. Her childhood in Scandia, Minnesota, was full of activities involving children since her five siblings often had neighborhood kids over to play. She loved horses and the outdoors, but at age fifteen, she found her greatest love, Mark. When they married in 1975 at age 18, the couple added to their 20 head of Angus by buying a dairy herd. They happily milked registered Holstein cows for 10 years. Claudine was the person who often ran the farm as Mark was busy with his Select Sires work. During this time, Claudine and Mark had 3 beautiful children, Christine in 1978, Melinda in 1980, and Jesse in 1982. Together, this young family enjoyed being caretakers of God's planned paradise.
In 1985, Claudine's deep yearning to become a teacher took hold. She entered the University of Wisconsin-River Falls as an Education major and in 1989, earned her teaching degree in English/Elementary Education K-12 with Honors. She had her first teaching job before she even graduated. Claudine taught Language Arts at Mahtomedi Middle School in Minnesota for 30 years. Through the years, Claudine received and still receives many letters of thanks from former students. She earned the ultimate tribute to a teacher 14 times, The Teacher of Excellence Award. Each senior who is graduating in the top 10% of the class choose a teacher who made a profound impact during his/her educational journey, and that teacher is honored by the student at a special banquet event. Claudine was extremely proud of this memorable recognition from such amazing young people.
Even though retired, her passion of teaching continues through her efforts as the coordinator for the Minnesota Youth Beef Experience Program (MYBEP). This one-of-a-kind program created by Mark and Claudine is a major cornerstone of the Minnesota Beef Expo. In the first 16 years, MYBEP gave away 155 heifers to children ages 12 to 16 who yearned to be a part of the beef industry. Claudine mentored each one of the 155 recipients, especially in developing communication skills. Ultimately, Claudine and Mark hope to inspire these adolescents to become strong, agricultural advocates for the future as the couple recognized early on in their lives that they were truly grateful to have had support from so many incredible mentors throughout the years including family members, friends, and colleagues. This couple, married since along the way.
The mission statement agreed upon by the founding GP members is "to be a sustainable family agricultural business that raises breed-leading registered Angus cattle and Quarter horses using innovative technology and leading-edge genetics, as well as the best in current management."
GP Angus is located 18 miles east of New Richmond, Wisconsin. The ranch consists of beautiful green pastures and wooded land, and includes two separate farm sites. The buildings located on the original farm site are comprised of a 120' x 60' machine shed with a shop, two silos, a 30' x 80' maternity barn and a 45' x 90' wintering barn, and two smaller individual lots with shelters. The maternity and wintering barns are situated in the dry lot where the cows are wintered. The cows are housed here from November until April. The spring calving season begins at the end of February and continues until the end of April. Because of the extreme cold of northwest Wisconsin, during these months, cows are housed in the maternity barn prior to their due dates, and each cow/calf pair will eventually get turned out a few days after birth. This arrangement is to ensure all cow/calf pairs are healthy and connected before returning them to the herd.
Mark, Claudine and their children are in charge of beef operations and live on the second farm site which includes a 36' x 60' barn and three smaller lots with shelters. The Quarter horses and yearling heifers are kept at this site. Training techniques are conducted on this farm, including halter breaking young stock and breaking horses to ride.
The two farms are connected by a lane system to make movement of cattle very convenient and functional. There are eight separate pastures totaling 220 acres, which can be assessed from the lane. The lane is practical and useful as cattle are continually moved for pasture rotation, artificial insemination procedures, vaccinating, freeze branding, weighing or treatment.
Herd Health and Management Practices
Herd health is an area which receives high priority at GP. GP's current practices include annual vaccinations, free-choice minerals, and supplemental grain feeding for calves and yearling heifers. The vaccinations distributed to cattle each year include BVD, IBR, PI-3, BRSV, Leptospirosis, Clostridium Perfinges 7-way, Haemophilus Somnes, and Pasturella-Hemolytica. GP has a comprehensive serology protocol for paratuberculosis and BVD with the herd testing 100% negative, attributing to a Class A Johne's certification from the State of Wisconsin.
GP compiles extensive ultrasound data. GP ultrasounds all yearlings, bulls and heifers for ribeye area, intramuscular fat, backfat and ribfat. Another common procedure GP conducts is to regularly weigh the cattle to obtain birth weights, 205-day weights, yearling weights and mature weights. This data is extremely useful for selecting replacement females and herd bulls. GP also performs DNA testing using AGI and Zoetis 50K tests to enhance our EPD and genomic information.
Free choice mineral specifically formulated to meet the needs of the herd is always provided. Calves are given minimal creep feed free choice consisting of 2/3 oats, 1/3 corn with protein pellets making it a 14% protein ration. The GP philosophy is that creep feed disguises the selection process for milk traits of the mother, so we creep feed minimally and equally. Heifer and bull calves are weaned in the fall and fed supplemental grain feeding in a ratio of 60% corn, 40% oats and 12% protein. This is more of a developmental growing ration compared to the starter ration fed to the calves.
The farm raises alfalfa and grass hay which is fed during the winter season. We put up over 1000 round bales weighing between 1000 to 1200 pounds each. We have a rotational process of raising corn, oats and hay. The entire farm is placed on a grid map with annual soil testing. We use manure whenever possible and supplement with liquid and dry fertilizers. In 2006, GP devised a Management Intensive Grazing system to increase quality and diversity of grass-forage and improve soil health and condition. Rotational grazing was established using a lane system connecting each pasture. This system has proven to be extremely valuable over the years as it is easy to move animals with little to no stress. The water source is located by the chute system making it a functional and hassle-free setup to breed or treat animals with only one or two people. Each pasture offers a natural shade area which helps the herds' rate of gain and overall well-being.
Land conservation is very important to GP staff as ranching is a system that should be holistic and future driven. Therefore, soil and plant health are essential because they impact the livestock health. Therefore, a focus has been to manage and expand water flow areas, maintain natural wind and snow breaks, and use selective harvesting practices to preserve an environmentally sound habitat for many species natural to this area including white tail deer, bear, fox, wild turkeys, rabbits and eagles. The existing barbed wire and steel post fence is being replaced with a smooth, high tensile fence and wooden post system to uphold the natural beauty of our land and prevent serious injuries to animals in the surrounding habitat.
Rotational grazing and crop rotation are crucial as this allows GP to work on the goal of total sustainability. GP has a deep-rooted belief in the land and cattle being compatible with each other, and thus, every attempt possible is made to not push the environment or nature to the extremes. By considering the entire ecosystem of soil, plant and livestock, GP Angus and Quarter Horses can be a successful ranching enterprise that will also help the rural community by doing business with neighborhood entities and engaging youth through mentorship opportunities.