Interview with Rod Gumz
By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater
“In 1892, my great-grandfather bought his first 40 acres in northern Indiana. When my grandfather started farming, he gradually acquired land, expanding into Wisconsin in the 1940’s,” says Rod Gumz, who co-owns Gumz Muck Farms in Endeavor, Wisconsin, with is brother, Richard. There, they grow, store and pack red potatoes and yellow onions for retail.
The farm also raises carrots for processing, field corn, soybeans and over 1,000 acres of mint (primarily peppermint). The Gumz family has been raising mint in Indiana and Wisconsin for 90 years.
“In the late 1950’s, my dad began managing the main farm in Indiana, while my grandfather oversaw the satellite farms in Indiana and Wisconsin,” Rod explains. “Since there were management opportunities in Wisconsin, it was logical for Richard and me to move here after graduating from Purdue University.”
Rod and Richard’s father and two brothers, Kevin and Dan, stayed in Indiana and bought the home farm.
“Looking back, it was a big step for us, but with family involved, the risk was strategic,” Rod surmises. “We were fortunate to have had the opportunity.”
“Since that time, we have been able to grow the farm both in size and in a vertical business model to where it is today,” he adds. “Richard and I work well together to accomplish this. Our combined skills complement each other and have allowed us to be successful.”