Keeping Business in the Family for 75 Years

Jerry Paumen (pronounced Paw-men) remembers when “three strikes, you’re out” as a young boy playing baseball in Plato, Minnesota only applied to baseball. But many years later, it took on a much different meaning.

“I always wanted to come back to the family farm, but my parents didn’t accept my proposal the first two times I made it,” says Jerry, who attended Dakota County Technical College for Diesel Mechanics.

In 2006, his third — and final —proposal was accepted. “That was going to be my last attempt to join my parents in business or else I was starting my own.”

Let’s rewind to see this family’s full story:

Jerry’s parents, Jim and Lanette Dammann, were founders of Gold Country Seed®. His mom ran the seed office from their house until 1991 when they built a shop that served as Gold Country’s headquarters. After selling the company, Jerry and his parents continued to operate a Gold Country Seed dealership as Dammann Seeds.

The parallels between the Dammann Seeds and Latham Seeds are quite remarkable. Jerry’s grandfather started their family business by conditioning and then selling oats. When Jerry’s father returned to the farm after college, he focused on selling soybeans. Jerry’s parents in 1989 ventured into corn sales, which provided Jerry with an opportunity to come home.

Just as Jim and Lanette helped the generation before them grow the seed business, Jerry and his wife, Steph, have done the same. Now their sons, JP and Jack, also are involved with the business.

“It’s nice to have our kids help,” Steph says. “They interact with customers. Our boys have learned important lessons about customer service and providing value. It’s fun to watch them grow and develop their own interests.”

The Paumens also are involved in their community, with Steph volunteering at school and at church. Jerry has served on the parochial school board and coached baseball and trap. He also has served on the high school’s trap board. The couple belongs to the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.

Family Photo

One of their favorite family recipes — for breakfast, lunch or even dinner — is this easy and delicious Hashbrown Hotdish.

Hashbrown Hotdish


  • Hashbrown patties
  • 1 pound of hamburger
  • 1 onion
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • Milk
  • Frozen peas
  • American cheese slices
  • French fried onions


  1. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Line the bottom of the pan with hashbrowns.
  3. Brown the hamburger and onions; drain.
  4. Mix 1 can cream of mushroom soup with half can of milk; then add the hamburger and onions.
  5. Spoon the soup-hamburger mixture on top of the hashbrowns.
  6. Top with frozen peas.
  7. Cover with American cheese slices.
  8. Cover with foil. COOK’S TIP: I spray the foil with no-stick spray to prevent the cheese from sticking to it.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
  10. Take off the foil, cover with french fried onions and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes.
  11. Let it rest for 5 minutes on the counter before serving.