In 2014, four friends and ranchers came together in partnership with one goal in mind – To create a new agriculture verification company, designed to move our industry into the future, with a name that our fellow industry professionals could trust.
Committed to excellence, these four individuals began by listing what was important to them when it came to verification services. What were the good things about the verification services already in the industry? What things could be improved upon? What things were a verification company and the customer most concerned with before and after the audit? But perhaps most importantly, how can we make it better?
With over 20 years of combined experience on both sides of the auditing table, the four partners worked to create a business model designed to offer a better option for their fellow agriculture professionals. These four individuals knew there was a need for a true, industry-friendly verification company, willing to go the extra mile . . . And they decided to answer the call.
Herb and Ginger Holzapfel have been cow calf operators since 1969 and they run cows in both California and Oregon. Herb was one of the very first American cattle producers to participate in the Non Hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC) verification program in partnership with Creekstone. He has also participated in the USDA’s Never Ever 3 program and GAP Animal Welfare for sale of beef to Whole Foods. The Holzapfel’s have developed their program mostly to sell high quality seedstock bulls to Pacific Northwest clients. They developed a highly strategic AI Program in 1973 and now 100% of all of their females are part of the AI Program. Herb has participated and volunteered on numerous boards. He has served as a bank director for a farm credit institution and has been elected as the chairman for the past 15 years. He also serves as Chairman of the Farmers Rice Co-op which is the largest marketing organization in California. Herb sits on the board of the Farm Credit Council in Washington DC, and is the Chairman of the Council’s PAC Fund which oversees and distributes close to one million dollars each year.
Mike and Michelle LaGrande
Mike and Michelle LaGrande are a father-daughter team who operate a large cow/calf ranch in both California and Oregon. Cattle winter and calve near the home place in Williams, CA and spend their summers in the cool grasses of southern Oregon, just outside of Klamath Falls. The LaGrande’s pride themselves in using proven, quality genetics to raise cattle that grow well in the Pacific Northwest. They have participated in a variety of verification programs ranging from Source and Age Verification, Non Hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC), USDA’s Never Ever 3 (Natural), GAP animal welfare standards required for the sale of beef to Whole Foods, and USDA Organic. They are intimately familiar with what it takes to raise quality cattle for verification programs. Additionally, both of the LaGrande’s have been closely involved in creating businesses in the cattle industry beyond their growing herd of quality Angus Cross cows. Partnering with other industry professionals to start a grassfed cattle company, serving on many industry boards, and participating in numerous sustainability efforts, the LaGrande’s have a wide knowledge and plethora of experience to help lead the cattle industry into the future.
Jennifer was born and raised in Willows, CA on a working Angus cattle ranch and still lives there today. She attended California Polytechnic State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Ag Business concentrating in Farm and Ranch Management. After graduation she attended National University and received a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential in K-6. For the past 20 years Jennifer has taught elementary school and along the way she has also coached basketball at the middle school and high school level, was a 4H beef leader and was active with Ag Boosters for our Willows FFA chapter. Jennifer loves working on her family’s cattle ranch with her parents, roping and helping friends at brandings and watching her two children Blaize and Brieze in all of their activities. Being an RCR Auditor gives her the opportunity to travel, visit the best ranches in the country and meet dedicated hard working people who also love their lifestyle.
Della was born and raised in Etna,CA on her parents commercial cow calf operation. She recently graduated from Chico State University with a degree in Agriculture Business and also runs her own photography business, Circle Bar Photography. She is very passionate about being involved in the industry and helping ranchers be knowledgable about the verification process and requirements so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not to verify their own cattle.