History of the Trelay Land & Cattle Co.
We begin with a generation of farmers and miners in Cornwall, England, we will call it Gen #1. Earlier generations lived in Cornwall, but Gen #1 created a very unique situation to occur. Matthew Biddick, his wife, Mary (Tonkin) and their 9 children had a picnic with James Rundell and his wife, Betsy (Paynter), and their 14 children. It was a Sunday afternoon on a beach near Padstow, Cornwall, England before 1840. Four marriages resulted between these two families.
So, Gen #2 made their mark by immigrating to the US. Many people were leaving England in the 1850's due to the oppressive taxes, laws, and the Church of England. Many folks, including the Biddick's and Rundell's found themselves in SW Wisconsin where mining and farming were active. It was a difficult time to come to a new country with little. Surviving the winters and diseases took a strong constitution.
Generation #3's large families began to spread out across the US, but remained concentrated in SW Wisconsin. Thank goodness we are related to this generation that were farmers instead of miners. They bought and farmed the better land around Livingston, WI, which is where the Trelay Land & Cattle Co. resides today.
Gen #4, which was born in the late 1800's, became business people and began adapting to the new ideas emerging in the US. A key individual in the history of TLC is Elmer G Biddick. He attended the University of Wisconsin Ag Short Course, which introduced him to hybrid seed corn. Elmer began a seed corn company on his SW WI farm with his wife, Ada. Ada was an artist and marketer. Elmer was a producer. Together they survived the ups and downs of business during the depression and built a livestock and seed farm. It was at this time that Hercules Rundell gave Elmer's farm the name "Trelay", where a large grove of big cottowood trees reminded Hercules of the term Trelay. In Cornwall it means "from the place of a grove of trees".
Generation #5's key fellow was Roger Biddick. He was one smart guy. He served in WW II, attended the UW-Madison and wanted to farm with his father more than anything else. Roger loved beef cattle. He judged many cattle shows, developed feeding holstein steers and continued the dual enterprises of seed and livestock on Trelay Farms, Inc.
Brad Biddick represents Gen #6. He attended the UW-Madison during the turbulent 1960's and learned there was always "a better way", which served Trelay well. Change was the theme and Trelay developed many unique approaches to the problems of the day. His major contribution, however, was recognizing the significance of BioTechnology. Like Elmer's endorsement of hybrid seed corn, Brad embraced biotechnology and guided Trelay through the demise of many family seed corn companies. Trelay Farms, Inc. was renamed Biddick, Inc. after Monsanto bought Trelay's retail seed business and the "Trelay" brand. A successful popcorn business began in 1983, and like the team of Elmer and Ada, Brad and his wife, Peggy, developed new, unique popcorn products.
Generation #7, Jason Biddick, currently confronts agriculture's economic squeeze and society's upheaval. After attending Iowa State University and working in the seed industry, Jason took over the leadership of TLC and Biddick, Inc. A revival of the continuing cattle enterprise and a long term production contract is the base for Biddick, Inc's size and scope. Jason's "people" skills and clear, persistent insights address the complex nature of managing a team to accomplish more than any one individual can. "Trelay", as a trademark, has been recovered and now comes around again to describe the happenings near Livingston, WI.
It is within this history that we begin the Trelay Land and Cattle Co. As said on the Home Page, TLC pays tribute to the history of our family, its individuals and the hard work of many folks over 114 years.
The eighth generation is attending elementary school through universities. The future is .........