The Goddard family contingent in Florida is Ron and Kathleen, our oldest son Jason and his wife Tiffany, their five children Jett, Porsche, Racer, Titus and Phoebe and our youngest son, Jake. Jake spends a good bit of his time in Montana and Jett seems to be leaning that direction as well.
When Grasslands LLC took on the management of the Blue Head the Goddard family had for several years been managing another ranch for Grasslands in Eastern Montana. The upper echelons of Grasslands, not knowing anyone in South Florida and needing people on the ground here conversant with Holistic Planned Grazing, offered us the job. Kathleen, Jason, Jake and I flew down here for a few days in the fall of 2014 to look the place over. It had rained about six inches in the week before we arrived and most everywhere our guide, Rowdy, drove us we were in several inches of standing water with his pickup rippling a bow wave out front that had us wondering how far we would have to walk when we got stuck. In the gumbo clay of eastern Montana, where we were from, a half inch of rain means 4-wheel drive to get down the county road and you might as well saddle a horse to go off the road. A solid foundation of sand was completely out of our experience.
We left Montana for South Florida in late June of 2015. Fortunately the ranch was still leased out until September and we didn’t have to actually work out in the sunshine and humidity too much for a couple of months. We spent most of our time easing from one patch of shade to the next and wondering what we were doing in Florida.
We took over active management of the ranch in mid September and thanks to a number of highly efficient cattle buyers we had purchased well over 4,000 head of mostly Corriente, Cracker and Longhorn cows by the end of October. It’s been a pretty steady job since then.
Rowdy Sullivan handles the wildlife related enterprises as well as keeping track of most of the other non-cow focused issues. His history with the Blue Head goes back at least a couple of generations. In fact, Rowdy’s dad was born in one of the houses on the ranch. Rowdy himself has worked on the ranch for over 15 years through several changes in ownership and management.
Mark Nelsen grew up near Orlando but spent several years working on some large ranches in Nevada, California and Wyoming. When he decided to settle down closer to family we were able to convince him to do it here. He’s been on the Blue Head since shortly after we got the place stocked, has found and wed Charlotte and they have two daughters, Hannah and Chloe.