Gary & Connie Mills
In our landowner spotlight, we visit with Gary Mills. Gary and his wife, Connie, live on his family farm south of West Liberty. The homestead, acquired around 1850 by the Mills family, is a sesquicentennial farm. Gary is a lifelong resident of Muscatine County, living on the land he, his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfathers all farmed.
While growing up, Gary had many chores, such as tending the cattle, hogs, chickens, ducks, and geese. He started helping with the milk cows when he was only four or five years old. Other work included hauling manure and baling hay. Gary enjoyed growing up on the farm. His mother’s cooking is one of his favorite memories. A delicious meal would consist of roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, cooked carrots, noodles, and homemade pie.
After graduation from high school, Gary attended Muscatine Community College. In June of 1971, he joined the National Guard. He spent two months in basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey and two more months in dental assistant school in San Antonio, Texas. Gary was a dental assistant for the 209th Medical Battalion out of Iowa City for 11 years.
Gary’s career in farming began as a young lad. He continued helping his dad throughout high school and then on his own after his dad’s passing. He had an alfalfa/oats, corn, and soybean rotation. Gary had a herd of cattle he would move by walking them to and from pasture each year down the road, a mile and a half. He also worked at Kile’s Feed & Grain during his teen years, making $5.30 per hour. In 1977, he accepted a job at Amoco
(Standard Oil) as the manager which lasted ten years. Gary had a brief period selling insurance before taking a job with Liquid Grow. He has been a manager there for over 26 years and has loved every minute of his time there. Over the years, the advancements in technology and the size of the equipment has impressed him. Much of the equipment has become harder to operate with the vast technology it contains.
Gary married Connie (Madsen) in May of 1972. Prior high school sweethearts, they recently celebrated 45 years of marriage. Connie has worked many years for Deck Supply Services in Blue Grass. Brandon, Julie, Beth, their three children, were raised on the farm as well. As a family, they shared many trips for various sporting events, such as the many fond memories of taking son, Brandon, to AAU Basketball. They also have six grandchildren, four boys and two girls, to spoil and love.
Walleye fishing is just one of Gary’s past times. Over the years, he visited Canada once or twice each year to go fishing. He still fishes the Mississippi in his 17 1/2’ walleye boat. The above photo is at White Birch Lodge in Ontario, Canada. Other past times for the couple are traveling to see the grandkids playing soccer, football, basketball, and baseball.
The partnership with Billie Danner and the Mills began over twenty years ago when Gary needed “the best no-till operator around.” Gary thinks Billie is a terrific farmer and operator, keeping the fields and ditches looking nice and clean. They have had an exceptional experience with Danner Farms and the employees as well.
We would like to thank Gary and Connie Mills for their many years of partnering with Danner Farms. We appreciate your kind words and friendship!