Growing Family Carries Farm Traditions Forward
Shared family values and common interests are what brought Cole and Mandy Danner together. The two met at a social event hosted by the Block & Bridle Club when they were students at Iowa State University (ISU) where they learned of 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 4-H Beef project. Cole also was active on the 4-H Livestock Judging Team. He competed in National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest at the National Western Stock Show and at National FFA Convention. He earned a college scholarship for livestock judging and a spot on the ISU Livestock Judging Team.
Cole and Mandy have been building their cattle numbers since they got married in September 2012. They moved to an acreage outside of Laurens, Iowa, where they rented farmland and farmed alongside Mandy’s family.
“Cole and I farmed row crops for seven years and enjoyed it thoroughly. We learned a lot in those years and cherish all the memories. But how does the old saying go? The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes!” says Mandy. The couple has experienced many life changes in recent years.
“We were blessed with our first child, our son Bentley, in January of 2017. He is a farm boy through and through! He will jump at any opportunity to go farming. He loves the farm life so much we converted our entire basement into his little play farm setup complete with every piece of equipment you can imagine: barns, cattle, fence, silos, and grain bins,” says Mandy. “In May of 2021, we were blessed with our second child, our daughter Myla. We can already tell that she loves the farm life by the way she looks at the cattle, and the smile on her face when she goes outside.”
Another change for the family occurred in January 2019 when Cole took a sales job with C&B Operations, a John Deere dealer in Storm Lake, Iowa. He has since moved into a store manager position. Cole and Mandy continue to help their family farm during spring planting and fall harvest. They also continue to operate a Latham® seed dealership.
“I joined Latham Seeds in 2012 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.”
“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.
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
Combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press into ungreased 9×13 pan. Top with pecans. Drizzle caramel evenly over pecans. Bake at 350 for 15-20 min. or until caramel is bubbly. Place on a wire rack and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand for 5 minutes. Then carefully spread chocolate chips over caramel layer. Cool at room temperature for at least 6 hours, or until chocolate is set. Cut into bars. Yields 4 dozen.
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
Cook all together except the peas until celery and carrots are tender. Then add 1 cup macaroni. Cook until noodles are tender, and add peas.