The Dammann family farm in Manning, Iowa, is 240 acres, currently being farmed by the fourth generation of the family with the fifth and sixth generations around to support and enjoy the land.

Claus C. Dammann was born on November 13, 1865, near Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. In 1881, at the age of 16, he immigrated to America to avoid being inducted into the German armed services and settled in Clinton County, Iowa. In 1883 he moved to Manning, Iowa and was a pioneer resident of the community founded in 1881. He married Anna Biehl on April 8, 1883, and started renting a farm in the Aspinwall, Iowa area west of Manning. Claus and Anna had four sons who all remained living and working in the Manning area. On February 27, 1907, Claus and Anna purchased 240 acres south of Manning where they moved with their four sons, becoming the first generation to farm the land.

Julius, who was their youngest son, was born March 9, 1903, on the rented farm near Aspinwall, Iowa. Julius married Ella Goettsch on June 11, 1924. They had two children, Viola and Arlo. Julius and his family continued to farm the rented land by Aspinwall until 1933 when they moved south of Manning to the home place, the second generation to farm the land, until he suddenly passed away on July 7, 1949, at the age of 46.

Arlo Dammann was born September 4, 1930, on the rented farm near Aspinwall where his parents were living. In 1933 his family moved to the family farm south of Manning. After graduating from Manning High School in 1948, Arlo stayed on the farm to help his father. The following year in 1949 his father passed away. Arlo then took care of his mother and the farm as the third generation on the land. Arlo married Betty Obman on June 7, 1953, and they made their home on the family farm. They had three children, Gary, Colleen, and Wes. All three children enjoyed working on the farm with their parents. In 1988 Arlo and Betty semi-retired and moved into Manning to a house that their youngest son, Wes, and his wife Joyce had purchased. Wes and his family then moved to the farm. Betty passed away on December 12, 2004. Arlo was able to attend the Iowa State Fair with his family when they received the Century Farm award in 2007. Arlo continued to help both of his sons farm until he passed away on March 21, 2018.

Wes Dammann is the youngest child of Arlo and Betty Dammann. He and his wife Joyce were married on April 19, 1980, and moved to the family farm in 1988 with their family, becoming the fourth and current generation farming the land. Wes had always enjoyed helping on his family farm when he was young and knew that if he had a chance he wanted to continue to farm. During his junior year of high school in 1976, he rented a neighboring farm and used his dad’s machinery to farm it. His brother Gary, who had graduated from college in 1974, was living nearby and farming a rented farm also in the area. Both boys traded Arlo labor on the home place in order to use his machinery on their ground. Their sister Colleen married Randy Chalfant on June 7, 1980, which was the 27th wedding anniversary of Arlo and Betty. Colleen and Randy lived in Guthrie Center, Iowa where they also helped on Randy’s family farm.

Wes and Joyce have three girls, Jacquie, Erin, and Alyssa, who all grew up helping on the farm. They helped do chores, plant and harvest crops, bale hay, and plant and take care of the new wind break to protect the farm place from cold Iowa winter winds. They collected many fond memories of working and playing on the farm. They all enjoy returning to the farm with their husbands and children to share the experience and memories of farm life.

Gary was able to purchase a farm adjoined to the home place, and he and Wes continued to farm together. It was truly a family farm, with each brother having his own farm but sharing labor and equipment to make farming easier. Colleen’s husband passed away on June 17, 2014, and Gary passed away on July 8, 2019. Colleen remains part of the family farm and now owns Gary’s ground, which Wes farms.

We are proud and honored to have been able to continue to farm this ground as a family since 1907. Wes has said if you take care of the farm like family it will take care of you and your family, and it certainly has for over 115 years. This farm has not only raised crops and livestock, but it has also raised a soldier, teacher, truck driver, social worker, secretary, cosmetologist, physical therapist, mechanic, and many farmers. Now we turn a new chapter, and on our 115th continuous year of Dammann Farms and with the help of Century Farms Distillery, we hope you can raise a glass and toast with your family and friends as we continue to try to leave the world around us better for the next generations.

Corn to Whiskey