In 1948, Carrol and Vera Danner, my great-grandparents, brought their farming operation from western Illinois to West Liberty, Iowa, to the very farm that I grew up on. My great-grandpa Carrol built the house I grew up in as a child.
My great-grandpa’s house remains, but is surrounded by many new buildings and technologies, showing the evolution and growth of our farm over the years.
Carrol and Vera Danner grew the operation throughout the years, raising grain and livestock of many species. They were self-sufficient, as they always raised and preserved their own meat and produce, seldomly needing items from town. Carrol and his son, Louis, my grandfather, farmed together in the 60s and 70s. My grandpa Louis’ passion for beef[TR1] cattle drove him to breed Angus cattle, producing many National Champions in those two decades. He sold highly sought-after Angus breeding cattle across the United States. In the 80s, my grandpa Louis and my dad, Billie, began using the strong Angus-based herd Louis had built to begin another era in utilizing artificial insemination to produce crossbred club calves and Chi[TR2] anina-Angus breeding stock.
My grandpa, Louis, clipping cattle.
My dad returned home to the farm in 1989, in the midst of historically low land values and commodity prices—the farming crisis. My dad had always had a deep passion for livestock and was involved in 4-H, FFA, and exhibited across the country. My dad soon realized he also had a passion for growing grain. My grandpa and father farmed together and grew the operation from 600 acres to more than 4,000 acres in the 90s with my dad selling the remainder of his cows in the late 90s.
My dad and I with my heifer, Dolly, at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, KY.
Fast-forward to 2009, I purchased my first heifer to show, a Chianina-Angus crossbred heifer named Daisy. Continuing the family tradition after nearly 10 years with no cattle on the farm. I grew to love cattle just as much as my dad and grandpa, being active in showing through 4-H and FFA. Some of my fondest memories growing up are traveling to livestock shows across the country with my dad.
My first heifer, Daisy.
Cattle has been a passion that connected me to my ancestors and helped me find my passion in agriculture. I am proud to continue the family tradition as a cattleman.
My grandpa Louis and I at the Muscatine County Cattlemen’s banquet, my grandpa was a Hall of Fame Inductee.