Vernon Goodroad, Brandt, South Dakota, was honored in 1976 as Eminent Farmer by the Board of Regents and South Dakota State University.
Goodroad, 56, began farming in 1943 on rented land with only six dairy cows given to him by his father. Five years later he purchased the initial 220 acres of lowlands and weeds where the farmstead now sits. Today his 2,000 acres, with its well-thought-out farmstead strategically-placed windbreaks and clever materials handling systems, show the man is proud to be a farmer.
Goodroad was one of the original cooperators of the Tennessee Valley Authority fertilizer program, and he has been a leader in weed control. He is regarded as an innovator for college students to copy and a leader in Deuel County.
To date, because of his cooperation with South Dakota State University, he has conducted feeding operation tours attended by approximately 2,000 persons, including people from 29 European countries and 13 South American countries. One of the attractions, a modern bunk cattle feeding system, has been used as a model by Extension agricultural engineers for many years.
Goodroad was chairman of the South Dakota Tractor Pulling Contest at Clear Lake from 1964 to 1973. He was a Deuel County Fair Board member from 1964 to 1971 and a Deuel County Extension Board member from 1968 to 1975.
A South Dakota Master Pork Producer in 1968, Goodroad also received the Stockman of the Year Award in 1961. He’s won many championship trophies and ribbons from area shows and sales for his Yorkshire gilts. He was a director for the South Dakota Yorkshire Association for nine years, and was Deuel County Farmer Home Administration director for three years.
Goodroad has also served as a Deuel County Hospital Board member for five years and has been on his church’s council for six years. He and his wife, Ida, claim that the highlight of their lives was in 1973 when they toured five European countries with other South Dakota farm couples as part of the Ag Leaders Goodwill People-to-People Program.
The Goodroads have five sons, four with college degrees, one in grade school. With three of his older sons returning to farming, Goodroad thinks they’re doing well in their farming operations. He says, “Successful farming is based on good management. They’re adapting to new technology. We confer on fertilizer, chemicals and livestock feeding and breeding records. Farming is a good life, but no 8-to-5 job.”