Curtis & Betty Hollis

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Curtis & Betty Hollis

Lanehaven Farms

Laureate 2014

Agriculture is a crucial component of the local, national and global economy, and “Curt and Betty Hollis have played a key role in the success of the region’s farming sector. The Hollis’ impact on their business and community has been unmistakable,” states Steve Thorpe, CLU and Senior Financial Representative, Northwestern Mutual. Lanehaven Farms, Inc. is a progressive, family-owned and operated farm for the past three generations.

Born on a farm in south Waterloo to Gordon and Melva Hollis, Curt was born to be a farmer. After graduating from high school, Curt earned a degree in Dairy Science in 1967 from Iowa State University and Betty graduated from the American Institute of Business. Having grown up on a farm in Garner, IA herself, Betty always knew farming was a part of her future and aspired to marry a farmer and continue her life in agriculture. The two met while Curt was at ISU, and after they married, the Hollises made their home on Curt’s familiy’s farm in Waterloo, IA.

The Hollis family farm was established in 1947, and was incorporated as Lanehaven Farms, Inc. in 1968. In the early 1970’s, the 40-head Guernsey operation was liquidated and the farm’s emphasis switched to pork production. Today, Lanehaven Farms has four primary business units: commercial corn, soybeans, hogs and seed corn production. Each business unit embraces leading edge practices to systematically standardize processes, flawlessly execute and continuously improve efficiencies. Lanehaven Farms has always stood for excellence and integrity in all that they produce, and have been early adopters of emerging technology with a focus on the future.

Strong core values characterize how business operates at Lanehaven Farms on a daily basis: Progressive (eagerly embracing leading edge practices), Efficient (systematically standardizing processes, flawlessly executing, and continuously improving), Stewardship (passionately protecting and sustaining resources for future generations), Integrity (consistently honest, trustworthy, responsible, and accountable) and CustomerWOW! (proactively identifying customer desires and exceeding expectations). It is these guiding principles, along with the recognition that their farming operation is reliant on highly-valued employees, that affords decades of tenure in many who work with and for the Hollis family to achieve the success they have.

“This couple is the epitome of two loving, caring people working together in a critical business and willing to do the labor and take the risks that exemplify the free enterprise system that makes our country great. Curt and Betty live and work as individuals concerned for those they know and care about and are willing to share their lives to help others,” states Thorpe.

Curt and Betty Hollis value their roots in the Iowa heartland where they were both raised in families which valued faith, family and community. Faith continues to guide their daily lives and their work at Lanehaven Farms but one will not find more humble citizens of the community. Curt and Betty are actively involved in their faith-based community, volunteer at Orange Elementary School, and have been involved in Industry Associations and Farm Bureau. The couple was recognized in the 70’s by Farm Bureau with an Outstanding Farmer award, and Curt was named an Iowa Master Pork Producer in 1978. In 2001, Curt was awarded the coveted Matt Parrott Integrity Award.

Curt and Betty have been blessed with two children, Heidi (Mark) and Blake (Sally) and six grandchildren. Integrity, vision and a progressive mindset, have guided this couple through many decades. As they embark upon retirement, Betty remarks, “I saw the salt of the earth in farmers. It has been a wonderful life.” Curt says, “It’s always been a team effort. I wouldn’t have done it without her.” Because of their respect for the land and its resources, Curt and Betty’s life’s work will undoubtedly be there to benefit generations to come.

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