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Marion native follows in his father's footsteps

Staff writer

Playing football in the mud at Peabody is one of Dave Goertz’s most enjoyable memories from his high school years.

Dave, son of the late Cy and L.Dena Goertz, graduated from Marion High School in 1966. He and his family currently live in the sandhills of central Nebraska near Broken Bow, where they own and manage a Hereford seedstock operation.

Dave played basketball and football in high school and has become a Husker fan since moving to Nebraska.

He may not have had much choice because his wife, Jessye, to whom he has been married for 35 years, is a registered dietitian and works for the University of Nebraska as an extension educator.

“It’s been tough at times,” he said, “but I’ve been blessed with my family, and we enjoy going to Husker football games.”

Dave remembered that his Coach Lowell “tried to get us young men to accept responsibility and be leaders.”

Dave’s father, Cy, was a registered Hereford breeder, and Dave grew up raising and showing Herefords throughout the Midwest. He worked consignment bull sales for Goertz Herefords.

After high school, he showed cattle for several Hereford breeders from the National Western in Denver, Colo. to the Dixie National in Jackson, Miss., and the Houston Livestock Show in Texas.

After his marriage to Jessye in 1973, he managed a large Hereford ranch near Topeka.

Dave got out of the Hereford business for a while because he managed a large sales territory and was on the road a lot. He was regional sales manager for a major feed company and served several regions throughout the Midwest from Texas to South Dakota.

Establishing a herd

After settling in Nebraska, Dave followed after his father and established a purebred Hereford herd of his own.

“My daughter, Rachel, wanted to have cattle just like Grandpa, so we started out with two breeding heifers,” he said. “When Rachel wanted to take livestock in 4-H, it just seemed natural that she would show Herefords.”

He said he was proud of his daughter when her animal was named champion heifer at Nebraska Field Day and when a heifer she showed in Denver won second place in its class.

The Goertz family established the Double Heart Diamond Cattle Co. They run more than 100 cows and sell herd bulls through private treaty sales. They also have an annual bull sale under the name of Heartland Herefords.

Their bulls have been sold to 11 states. Dave said one of his greatest rewards was selling a semi-load of seedstock to southern Texas.

“The greatest challenge is to be on top of your game when people are looking for a specific genetic line,” he said. “This is one of the reasons we use artificial insemination a lot and select herd sires that have been nationally recognized.”

He sometimes buys replacement heifers from outside his herd in an attempt to improve the herd’s basic genetics.

The cows graze on pasture during the growing season and cornstalks in the fall. During calving season, they are fed a ground ration of alfalfa, cane, straw, and cornstalks. Losing a calf always is a disappointment, Dave said.

Every member of the family is active in the cattle industry. Dave was chairman of the Nebraska Cattleman’s Seedstock Council and currently serves on the board of Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic. He twice has served as president of Nebraska Hereford Association.

Jessye has been president of Nebraska Hereford Women and currently serves on American Hereford Women board of directors. Rachel has served as director of Nebraska Junior Hereford Association, of which Dave and Jessye have been advisers.

Dave has no regrets for the path he chose in life.

“I’m fortunate that I can still have my feed business and my livestock business and make them both work,” he said.

He is optimistic about the future.

“If you are a young man or woman wanting to get involved in the cattle business, find a mentor who can help you through this time of uncertainty,” he advised. “I think there are some optimistic times ahead, but you will need the right seedstock and the right avenues to market your product. Enjoy it if you are going to do it.”

Last modified Feb. 25, 2009

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