Gene Goven, along with his wife, Christine, has three children, Jessica, Matthew, and Kayla; two stepsons, Patrick and Kenneth; and nine grandchildren. In 1967, Gene was attending North Dakota State University when his grandfather asked him to help with the harvest that year. In the late fall of that same year, a banker called Gene to ask if he wanted to purchase farmland. Gene told the banker he only had $200 to his name, but the banker worked with him on a contract for deed and Gene purchased 1,500 acres of farmland north of Turtle Lake.
The Goven’s currently offer custom grazing for approximately 150-170 cow/calf pairs. Before Gene started cross fencing, they provided grazing for 55 pairs. The Goven’s cross fencing practices have increased productivity about 430 percent per acre, and they harvest about 300 percent of this increase because they are working to feed the soil first and the animals second. Gene’s motto is “manage diversity for soil health enhancement.”