The place we call home is Holt County, Nebraska located 16 miles southwest of Atkinson. We live on third generation Garwood ranch land next to my brother Arden who lives on the home place. Aside from the fact that the valley usually is green, part of the land is located in Green Valley Township and that’s the reason for the name Green Valley Cattle.
I am very thankful for a rich family heritage and I know that I speak for my brother and five sisters in expressing how thankful we are for having such a great home life. We were all involved in 4-H and FFA and we loved showing cattle at our local county fair. We are especially thankful for how Mom and Dad made sure that during our growing up years we were given the opportunity to be with people and in places where good influences were present. My dad was a great example in character and integrity. He was an encourager in his own way and I think believed in me more than I believed in myself. While certainly not perfect, my dad has been a reflection of my Heavenly Father and His attributes. My family looks forward to being united with Dad one day based on the promise of 1 John 5:11-13.
I have always been quite mechanically inclined and enjoyed building, repairing, and even rebuilding vehicles or machinery. I even successfully put a diesel tractor motor in a Chevy pickup in spite of being told “it can’t be done.” But, 4-H and FFA had a huge impact in my life, and with such great memories and experiences, my love for cattle has won out in the end.
I learned to A.I. the summer between sophomore and junior years in high school and Dad let me experiment on about 25 cows and we got about a 90% conception rate. It’s never been quite that good since, but never just 25 head either. While I can’t say that I enjoy it as much as I used to, there has been nothing I have done that has led to more success.
Growing up, we raised commercial Angus cattle but Dad began adding some exotic influence starting with Charolais cattle then moving on to Limousin genetics. I even had developed a small herd of about 25 registered Limousin cows in my grade school years but after being exposed to black Maine-Anjou cattle in the 70’s, I knew I wanted more.
After completing high school, I attended Grace College of the Bible in Omaha, NE, earning a four-year degree in radio communications. Sandra and I were married between our sophomore and junior years in college in 1979. We returned to the ranch after graduation in the spring of 1981 not knowing for sure if we would stay, but here we are almost 35 years later.
We began building a herd of registered black Maine-Anjou cattle and we enjoyed our years raising them a lot, with some great accomplishments along the way. In time, our Maine genetics were spread across America and into Canada with great feedback from all over. But the best part was establishing great relation- ships with some super people.
Competing at the National Western Stock Show in Denver for 25 plus years in the pen bull show has been very gratifying. But at the same time, I must say I have been disappointed somewhat in the direction the show industry has taken.
I have always believed in and practiced accurate and total herd reporting of data for the sake of my own herd and the whole breed. While trying really hard not to be negative here, I have to bring up some things that have made a difference and have shaped my focus and changed my direction. While competing in the show world, judges have said things like, “these bulls are just a hundred pounds too light” or “these bulls look juvenile,” etc. I don’t know how else to say it other than that cattle with the GVC prefix many times weren’t old enough to be competing in the class divided into age groups sorted by a “reported” birth date. These sorts of things are a big part of what has caused me to want to compete in a different arena.
We dispersed our Maine-Anjou herd in December of 2014 and it was a difficult but great day with such fantastic support from customers across America and into Canada. Most folks probably don’t realize that here at GVC we started raising registered Angus cattle along- side the Maines back in 1987. It was great to work with both breeds and see the strengths and weaknesses of each. I worked to add volume and fleshing ability while reducing birth weights in the Maine cattle, bringing in some Angus genetics to make improvements in those areas. At the same time, attempting to build Angus cattle that had extra muscle, stoutness, and phenotype created value-added Angus. Even as we dispersed the Maines, we had grown our registered Angus cow herd to more than 300 head. They were on the “back 40” on dispersion day.
Because our past affects our present and brings about change in the future, going forward with our Angus program, I have seen more need for change and adaptation. While I still care a lot about phenotype, there is so much more that we need to be paying attention to. The GVC Angus cow herd represents generations of good looking, deep bodied, hard-working cows, but it was time to add genetics that also include more “end product” merit. We are striving to put it all together using all the tools available. These are exciting times as technology progresses and here at GVC we want to be paying attention to it all.
Sandra and I have been blessed with a wonderful family. We have great memories of their growing up years of working together and showing together as a family at the Holt County Fair, Ak-Sar-Ben, and Nebraska State Fair.
Our son Vance and his wife Ellie along with their three daughters Stella, Hazel, and Georgia live in Wichita, KS. Vance works there as a Raymond James financial advisor. Our daughter Sarah and her husband, Tyson, live in Central City, NE with their son, Zade, and daughters, Brynn and Nora. Tyson has a great business selling ATV parts on eBay. Our youngest son Grant, also lives in Wichita with his wife, Sidni. Grant works as a financial advisor as well, in an Ameriprise Financial office. And whenever it comes to grandkids, I always tell my kids “more is better.”
Green Valley Cattle
46974 866th Road
Atkinson, NE 68763