Scott Henry and his mother, Laurie, waited inside the headquarters of Longview Farms, a fourth generation row crop farm of the Henry family, for their visitors to arrive Wednesday, June 21.
They were happy to open their doors to an international group of farmers and ag industry leaders from other countries, who have been visiting Iowa over the past week.
“I hope to help them get an understanding of what it is to operate on the production side of farming from a farmer’s perspective,” said Scott, 27, who is a 2008 graduate of Nevada High School. Scott went to Iowa State for his bachelor’s degree, and then earned an MBA at Indiana University and a master’s degree in ag economics from Purdue. Now he’s in his fourth year of being back home and working with his family’s farm operation.
“We host about 15 groups a year,” Scott said. Last year alone, he said, they had people from 22 or more countries represented on their farm.
“We’re so well located,” Laurie said, and noted that because of all the ag industry around central Iowa and the interesting farms of others in the area, like Bill Couser’s cattle company, they often are asked to host visitors at their farm site along S-27 northeast of Nevada.
Many of their visitors come because of Longview Farms’ close work with the Iowa International Center, Scott said. But the visitors they were hosting Wednesday were from another connection. Scott said when he was a student in 2011, he traveled to Brazil with Ed Kee, former secretary of agriculture in Delaware. Kee, who is now president of Nuffield USA, was leading the tour for the Nuffield International Farming Scholars this past week.
When Kee opened the door to the Longview Farms office, he announced he had 10 farmers from six different countries with him on this tour. The individuals were from Australia, Brazil, England, Ireland, the Netherlands and New Zealand. Nuffield International is a nonprofit organization that focuses on developing people to make a difference in the world of agriculture.
The Henry family takes pride in the fact that they can help show others the things that are done on their farm. “We want to be advocates of agriculture and our industry,” Scott said. Indeed the family, which includes Laurie’s husband and Scott’s father, Steve, has built a beautiful headquarters office that has given them a very professional business appearance, which helps attract employees, other landowners and others they might want to do business with. It also, Scott said, helps attract the next generation into farming.
Longview Farms not only supports the Henry family, but that of seven other full-time team members who work for the business, the longest member now having been with them 34 years. And, Scott said, they have a number of seasonal part-time positions as well.
While at the farm, the Nuffield group got a tour of the headquarters for Longview Farms; of the shop and maintenance area, where they could look at all the equipment; of the storage facilities; and of the progress being made on Longview Farms new grain storage facility which is in construction.
During their time in Iowa, the Nuffield group visited both Iowa and national ag organizations located in the state, ag businesses, the World Food Prize, Iowa State University and a number of farms. Longview Farms was their last stop after nearly a week of visits that started June 16.
Laurie said opening the doors to their farms not only helps those visiting, but it also “broadens our perspective.”
Scott agreed, and then, remembering how the president of China came to a central Iowa farm in the not-too-distant past, he said, “When you open your doors for any tour, you never know where that connection you’ve made might lead.”