High Plains Genetics under new ownership
January 9, 2009
The future of regional livestock reproduction has been made stronger by the sale of High Plains Genetics Research, Inc. to a group comprised mostly of investors from the Black Hills area. The investors are Doug and Molly Hoff, Spearfish, SD; Darlene Dillon, Belle Fourche, SD; Jim Doolittle and Karen Wagner, Belle Fourche; Betsy Mahoney, Spearfish; Dave and Marysia McDowell, Spearfish; Colleen Murphy and Cleve Schmidt, Belle Fourche; Bill and Deb Myers, St. Onge, SD; Scott and Angela Reder, Fruitdale, SD; and Ricky Smith (Salt Creek Ranch), Memphis, TX.
High Plains Genetics Research, Inc. near Piedmont, SD, was built in 1983 and designed by Dr. Merlin Gebauer, who also managed the facility. It was owned until 1996 by Pat Hall and Len Remer of Rapid City, SD. At that time, Dr. Gebauer and his wife Anita, purchased the facility and have continued to manage it.
“We are so pleased about the new ownership. We wanted someone from the area who would continue what we’ve done up to now and allow it to grow,” said Anita Gebauer. “We really appreciate our past customers and hope they will continue to do business with the new ownership. Merlin and I are ready to take it a little easier and feel good about the whole change.”
Improvements and new technology have kept it a progressive facility under their management. Originally built to accommodate the reproductive needs of the registered cattle business, they gradually added facilities to accommodate horses. It currently can accommodate at least 61 bulls and 14 stallions, plus additional housing for cows and mares.
The facility is a custom collection and freezing facility for bull and stallion semen. It houses two collection areas, a palpation barn, breeding stocks and a full laboratory. Embryo transfer is also offered, as well as the storage and shipment of semen. In 2008 the business collected around 300 bulls and 50 stallions. This figure doesn’t include animals there for semen testing only.
Adjacent to Interstate 90 at the foot of the Black Hills, the business is in an ideal location for the transport of animals to and from the facility, and also for the transport of semen. As embryo transfer and the need for recipient cows and mares grew, the facilities expanded on the 110 acres it holds. It now has a “mare motel” which is four barns with 10 runs each, to accommodate a mare and foal. Another barn is used for bulls in the early spring and then dry mares as the bulls are sent home. There are additional pens and lots for the recipient mares and cows as needed.
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The current laboratory manager, Colleen Murphy, will be the new General Manager, and Cleve Schmidt will supervise the animal care, animal collection and site maintenance. A board of directors will be elected to supervise the operation.
Veterinarians who will be involved in the operation are Dr. Bill Hines, who will continue doing the cattle embryo transfer work. Dr. Wendy Howard will be doing the equine reproductive work. Colleen Murphy will continue to do the collecting of semen.
Along with a minor change in the name, as the facility will be simply High Plains Genetics, there will be some new additions. More emphasis will be put on horse reproduction, with more stallion collection and embryo transfers being done. There has already been the collection of semen from bucking bulls, and now the business will add the collection of bucking horse stallions as well. As a service industry, the business will strive to stay on the forefront of technology and developments in reproduction to be competitive with similar facilities in other states.
The management intends to improve services in any way possible and continue with improvements that are in progress on the horse facilities. There will be a general rejuvenation of the office as well. They would welcome visitors and would enjoy showing people all that is happening.
“The whole group is very excited about all the possibilities,” says Doug Hoff. “They all have their area of expertise and will have valued input into the operation.”
Doug and his wife Molly will be attending the Denver Stock Show to use their connections in the registered cattle business to promote the facility. “We all wish the Gebauers the very best,” Hoff added. “The group really appreciates all that they have done there and all their help in the transition of ownership.”
“This is such a great opportunity,” says Jim Doolittle, “and there is such a need in this area for a facility like this for cattle and horses both. The industry is growing so fast and there’s a lot of new research to be utilized.” He and his wife, Karen Wagner, are ranchers and business people and have a lot of enthusiasm for the skills and experiences of their partners as well.
St. Onge area horse breeder, Bill Myers, would like to have input on the development of the equine facilities in an advisory capacity.
“I want to focus on having safe, clean, stallion and mare barns,” says Murphy. “There is such a need for an all-around reproductive facility for horses on a larger scale in this area. There also needs to be an expanded embryo transfer program.” He adds, “Colleen (Murphy) already does a lot of our work at our place, so I already have a lot of confidence in her. We may stand a stallion or two at the facility, too.”
As to what other additions are on the horizon, Doug Hoff says that they may add RV hookups and possibly even bull and stallion transport services. “The possibilities are endless,” Hoff says.
A changing of the guard, perhaps, but the purpose and mission of High Plains Genetics will continue to be striving for excellence. With this solid, knowledgeable group at the “reins,” this business remains committed to leading the way in the rapidly evolving bovine and equine reproductive industry.