Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on August 21, 2018 at 3:02 PM by Global Reach

Tom Mann of West Union has been part of the Fayette County 4-H program for over 50 years.  His love for cattle and farming started at a young age as he worked side by side with his parents.   Tom was a member of the Windsor Spark Plugs and then the Union Eager Beavers 4-H clubs. Tom Mann

After high school graduation and getting married, he soon took over the family farm at age 22. Tom and Jaci raised 4 daughters, all who were members of the Fayette County 4-H program being very successful in showing beef cattle.  The family is also very involved in their local church and community helping out at many events. 

Tom owned and operated the West Union Sale barn in the mid 1990’s while also serving on the Fayette County Fair Board. In the 1980’s Tom was one of the auctioneers with the 4-H/FFA auctions of the livestock at the completion of the county fair.  In 1995 Fayette County switched to an achievement auction in which Tom continues to volunteer his auctioneering services.  

In addition to auctioneering he also loves helping youth by offering them the opportunity to show beef.  Integrity and humility is something Tom feels is important and teaches each of the youth he assists.  Anyone who asks for assistance from Tom will get what they ask for but the youth know that he isn’t one to do the work for them.  Tom’s words include, “Trophies are a representation of the hard work that you put in, not things you display for all to see.” This taught those who put in the work, awards can be won, and hard work does pay. 

Every young person was given the learning opportunity in selecting their own animal from the school of hard knocks, known as Mann’s Grazing Hills. With a strong belief in God he named his farm Mann’s Grazing Hills because scripture tells us “I look to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord maker of Heaven and Earth.”

He taught with few words, and lots of repetition.  You would often find Tom listening to his daughters while wrestling their steers in the barn because they thought they had a better way than dad’s way.  After a little struggle most of the time the girls gave in and ended up asking for dad’s help, which would first turn into a debate evolving and changing to doing it dad’s way, even though there were times his way took longer, but in the end had safer outcomes.

Many who aren’t even related, call him Grandpa Tom because he loves each like his own.  Tom’s greatest joy is seeing the kids show and enjoying it.  His philosophy was if you can’t smile when you lose you don’t ever deserve to win. 

Tom recently retired from farming and moved to Colorado to be closer to his daughters, son in laws and their families.  He still has a tie to Fayette County as several 4-H and FFA members will continue to show animals from his beef herd until they graduate.  Then his grandchildren will be old enough to start showing in Colorado as 4-H members.

Categories: 2018, Fayette

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