Meet the Iowa Farm Family Named 2021 Top Producer of the Year

Winter at LongView Farms in Nevada, Iowa is the perfect time for planning next season. 

“When I use the word ‘sustainable’, you have to keep your revenues going at least as fast as your expenses are growing,” says Steve Henry, one of the owners and operators of LongView Farms. “So, the definition for sustainability is, can I be here again next year?”

Together with his wife Laurie and sons Scott and Eric, Steve Henry and team have built a sustainable business that now stretches across 10,000 acres and a couple of livestock feeding ventures. 

“One of the things I learned through my career before I came back to the farm was the importance of understanding the finances of the farm,” says Steve.

Steve and Laurie came back to operation in 1988 after a short stint working in ag lending in Nebraska.

“It came together for us,” says Laurie Henry.  “We came back. We were excited. It was a way to think about starting a family. I was able to work off the farm as Steve and his dad were starting to work together.”

“Fortunately, my career was in ag lending and I got to see so many different models of success,” says Steve. “I was also able to see things that didn't necessarily turn out the way that those farmers wanted and it was just an opportunity to grow. We need those kinds of opportunities to grow.”

And growth is what they’ve done. In 2012 the farm was renamed LongView and in 2017 they completed a transition plan adding their sons Scott and Eric as partners. 

“It allows Scott and Eric to have more of an impact on the decision making while they're still in their late 20s, as opposed to waiting until mom and dad die,” says Steve.

“That ownership is key because ultimately, it's not just something that's given, says Scott Henry. “It's something that's also earned. One of the things that I don't give my parents a ton of credit for is they've always said we want the next generation to feel a part of what we're doing and that their opinion is valued.”

Today as the operation plans for the future, previous models built on land acquisition are transitioning in search of added value. 

“We need to be looking beyond agriculture and how can we be sustainable in a period where Iowa may not always be corn and beans,” adds Laurie.

“I've really focused on how can we continue to not only grow in acreage but diversify, and just the business elements of what we're doing, whether that's introducing livestock, looking at different partnerships,” says Scott. “We've tried indoor farming, for example.”

New areas of leadership are sprouting for both the business and their community. 

“When I think about community impact, I don't think just about what the Henry family does for the community of Nevada or Storey County,” says Scott. “But I also think about what our team members are doing or able to do.  And part of that is making sure that they're compensated in a way that they feel like they have the capacity to do some of that themselves, as well.”

As the planning continues for 2021 and beyond, the next 5 years are already stacking up to be different. 

“Laura and I are no longer the majority owners,” says Steve. “Scott and Eric will have the leadership of it."

“The mantra of our business, LongView Farms, is honoring the past, stewarding the present and looking to the future,” says Eric.

Congratulations to the Henry family and LongView Farms, the 2021 Top Producer of the Year. Meet the other finalists:

DX Ranch, Gettysburg, S.D.

Came Farms, Salina, Kan.

Sponsored by BASF and Case IH, the Top Producer of the Year contest began in 2000 and represents the best in the business of farming. Three finalists are chosen from numerous applications by a panel of judges based on entrepreneurial originality; financial and business progress; and industry and community leadership. 

The three finalists received all-expense-paid trips to attend the Summit. The winner also receives sessions with a CEO coach, courtesy of BASF, and the lease of a Case IH tractor for 150 hours of use on their farm. 

For 2021, the Top Producer Summit will feature both a small in-person event, which was held Feb. 15-17 in Nashville, Tenn. An online program launches Feb. 23-25. With the theme, “Breaking New Ground,” producers will hone their money, marketing and management skills.

Learn more about Top Producer Summit at Sponsors include:

  • Presenting: BASF, Beck’s Case IH, Nutrien, Farmers Mutual Hail, Fendt, Indigo, Pioneer and Pivot Bio
  • Supporting: AgCredit, CLA, Lincoln Financial Network 

The online Top Producer Summit, happening Feb. 23-25, will feature 25 sessions (ranging in length from 30 min. to 1 hour). Several recorded sessions from the in-person event will also be featured. Just a few of the online speakers include:

  • Eric Snodgrass, Nutrien Ag Solutions
  • John Phipps, Top Producer Columnist
  • Dr. Temple Grandin, Colorado State University 
  • Esther George, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
  • Seth Meyer, USDA Chief Economist
  • Angie Setzer, Citizen's Grain
  • Stephen Nicholson, RaboResearch Grains

The registration fee is $125. To receive 50% off, use the code: TPS50

Register now!


Latest News

Southern States: Rebuilding for The Next 100 Years

This year marks the cooperative’s 100th year in business. And as Steve Becraft describes, there’s more to celebrate than the centennial milestone.

The Carbon Games: Agricultural Producers Still Looking for the Leaderboard

“What we need to do to move carbon past the starting line is to show farmers the scoreboard and tell them exactly what they need to do to earn their points,” said Mitchell Hora.  

Senators Reintroduce the Next Generation Fuels Act

Emily Skor, Growth Energy CEO, says the fuel industry has only “scratched the surface” of ethanol potential. She feels this act will help unleash ethanol’s capabilities.

Farming The Northern Plains: Wheat Is A Winner, Corn Is A Headache

“The planting priorities are number one,” says Dr. Lee Briese of Central Ag Consulting. Jamestown, ND

The Equity and WebAir Launch Drone Spray Company

Green Creek Drone Company will be led by Tony Weber as general manager and will also be working closely with The Equity’s Agronomy Department providing custom application of fungicides in select areas in 2023.

Helena’s Two New Brands With A Sustainability Focus

The company says these new products balance crop production needs with environmental stewardship to increase yields responsibly and efficiently.