Newlyweds Plan Future around Shared Love of Farming

It’s been a whirlwind seven months for Cole Danner.  After graduating in May 2012 from Iowa State University (ISU) with a degree in Animal Science, he moved to western Iowa to pursue his true loves: raising cattle, farming and planning a future with Mandy Maurer.

He also recently joined the Latham Hi-Tech Seeds team as a dealer from Curlew in Pocahontas County.

“I joined Latham because it’s an independent, family-owned company,” says Cole.  “There’s a great support team in place, and I really enjoy working with people who have the same values.”

Shared family values and common interests are what brought Cole and Mandy together.  The two met at a social event hosted by the Block & Bridle Club at Iowa State.  They soon learned they shared interests in raising and showing cattle.  Both had been active members of both 4-H and FFA:  Mandy showed club calves; and Cole started his herd as a result of his 4-H Beef project.

Cole was also active on the 4-H Livestock Judging Team.  He competed in National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest at the National Western Stock Show and also at National FFA Convention.  He earned a college scholarship for livestock judging and also a spot on the ISU Livestock Judging Team.

While wedding plans were underway during the summer of 2012, Cole and Mandy were also busy making plans for their future.  They remodeled the kitchen of their farm house and are in the process of converting an old farrowing barn into a cattle shed for their SimAngus seed stock operation.  Next, Cole plans to put the finishing touches on an office and warehouse space for his growing seed business.

“Farming runs in both of our families, and we feel blessed to farm as a family,” says Mandy.  “It’s priceless to work side by side with the ones you love.  Cole and I both believe in the future of agriculture and look forward to carrying on our farming traditions.”

Today the Danners are helping promote beef by sharing one of their favorite recipes for Ground Beef Stew, as well as another recipe for Caramel Pecan Bars.  It sounds like a winning combination for a chilly, fall evening.  Think I’ll mix up a batch now!

Ground Beef Stew


  • 1 pound hamburger, browned and drained
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. seasoning salt (Lawry’s)
  • 1 package of  dry onion soup mix (1 envelope)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 quart tomato juice
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 cup frozen peas (add last)
  • 1 cup macaroni


  1. Cook all ingredients (except the peas) until celery and carrots are tender.
  2. Then add 1 cup macaroni.
  3. Cook until noodles are tender
  4. And then add peas.

Caramel Butter Pecan Bars



  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold butter
  • 1.5 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 jar (12 oz.) caramel ice cream topping, warmed
  • 1 pkg. (11 1/2 oz.) milk chocolate chips



  1. Combine flour and brown sugar.
  2. Cut in butter until crumbly.
  3. Press into ungreased 9x13 pan.
  4. Top with pecans. Drizzle caramel evenly over pecans.
  5. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until caramel is bubbly.
  6. Place on a wire rack and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  7. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  8. Then carefully spread chocolate chips over caramel layer.
  9. Cool at room temperature for at least 6 hours or until chocolate is set.
  10. Cut into bars.


Yields 4 dozen.