Bonin’s of North Iowa Live with Love of Agriculture

Joy & Dave Bonin

Warm weather means Joy Bonin can look through the patio window and take in her favorite view, watching black cattle grazing in the green pasture. Her husband, Dave, jokingly calls their cows and calves “lawn ornaments” because she comments so often about what a pretty picture the cattle make.

The Bonins raise Angus and Black Baldies bred to an Angus bull near Belmond in Wright County, Iowa. Their farm includes 40 acres of creek pasture where the cattle graze in the summer months. They also grow corn, and they’ve been contract Latham® soybean growers for approximately 35 years.

Dave and Joy began farming 46 years ago. For the past 44 years, they’ve lived on a farm that Joy’s grandparents purchased in 1950. Joy’s father purchased the farm in 1986, and ever since then she and Dave have farmed it. It is now owned by the Bonin’s and Joy’s four siblings. It’s also where they raised their two children, Michelle and David.

Bonins 1“The farm is a great place to raise a family because there are so many things to do and so many wide open spaces to roam,” says Joy. “Both of our children have a very good work ethic and we believe it’s because they learned to work alongside their parents.”

The Bonin’s daughter, Michelle, earned a bachelor’s degree from Drake University and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.  She works as a financial services consultant for Deloitte. Her husband, Mike, recently started his own business. They also stay busy with their two children, Madilyn, age 11½, and Matthew, age 8½.

Dave & David

The Bonin’s son, David, plays an active role in the family’s farming operation. He and his son Colton do cattle chores daily, as well as farm in partnership with Dave and Joy. David is an electrician and has his own business with three additional employees. His wife, Rachel, works part-time at Fareway and stays busy keeping up with their five active children. Mike & Colton work for David, Zach will be a senior at UNI majoring in accounting, Liberty is graduating from Belmond-Klemme this Spring and will be attending DMACC majoring in Entrepreneurship. Cole just completed his sophomore year at Belmond-Klemme.

With seven grandchildren, Dave and Joy have a busy calendar! They enjoy attending as many sporting events and recitals as possible.  They also enjoy weekend visits to Glen Carbon, Illinois.  In addition, they’re active in their community. Dave serves on the Belmond Community Housing board and the Art Council. He enjoys pencil drawing and riding motorcycle in his spare time.  Joy serves as their church’s bookkeeper plus teaches Vacation Bible School. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening and baking.

Because Joy has worked off-farm at Latham Hi-Tech Seeds for nearly 43 years, she values meals that are quick, easy and flavorful. Joy often relies on beef when she prepares supper and takes it to the field during planting and harvest.

Today Joy is sharing a couple of her favorite seasonal recipes with us, one for Rhubarb Crunch Cake and another for Beef & Rice Casserole. Enjoy!

Cherry Rhubarb Crunch by Joy Bonin


  • 2 ½ cups oatmeal
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup margarine


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 4 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 t. almond extract

Crust: Combine ingredients and cut together to make crumbs. Save ¾ c. crumbs for top; put rest of crumbs in a 9X13 in. pan

Filling: In sauce pan, combine sugar, cornstarch and water and cook until thick. Remove from heat and add pie filling, rhubarb, and almond extract. Pour over crumbs and sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Bake at 350° F. for 40 minutes.

Beef & Rice Casserole


  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup rice (not minute rice)
  • 1 can Beef consomme soup
  • 1 can French onion soup
  • As much uncooked cubed beef as you like (I either cut up round steak or pieces off a rump roast in about 1 inch cube sized pieces)


Combine all ingredients in glass 9X13 pan and bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees.  It is best to stir once or twice during baking so that all rice gets absorbed by the liquid.