Jeff and Deb Hansen 2014
Jeff and Deb Hansen
West Des Moines, Iowa
Jeff and Deb Hansen are the founders of Iowa Select Farms, a pork production company headquartered in Iowa Falls, Iowa, that employs nearly 1,000 Iowans in 46 counties and is both the state’s largest pork producer and one of the most technologically and environmentally advanced in the country.
Although neither Jeff nor Deb graduated from Iowa State University, they have served the institution as though it was their own. Through their gifts to the Jeff Hansen/Iowa Select Farms Pork Industry Scholarship, their Iowa Foundation for Agricultural Advancement scholarship, the Animal Science Judging Endowment Campaign, and the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center, the Hansens are transforming the educational experience for Iowa State students. They have also been friends to the university in a variety of other ways – by funding research, appearing as guest speakers on campus, and hiring Iowa State graduates. They were instrumental in the re-establishment of Iowa Swine Days, and have even opened up their farms for faculty to conduct research, lending credibility to the university’s efforts by providing the opportunity for research to be performed in a state-of-the-art facility.
Philanthropy is a way of life for the Hansens, who have had an impact not only on the Iowa State campus but throughout the state of Iowa. Their gifts have supported the new Hansen Family Hospital in Iowa Falls, Paws & Effect, and Toys for Tots. To maximize the impact of their philanthropy, they have established the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation to support hunger relief in Iowa, pursue a cure for childhood cancer, and support military families. In 2012 they provided 100,000 pounds of pork to hungry Iowans. They have also provided 750 “Hams for Heroes” to veterans, sent care packages to the Iowa National Guard Unit in Honduras, and launched the “Ham Sandwiches for Kids” project in cooperation with the Food Bank of Iowa’s Backpack Buddies program.
Both Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation have been honored with the Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award, and Iowa Select Farms has received multiple prominent national honors. Iowa Select Farms was the first Iowa pork producer to be recognized as a National Environmental Stewardship honoree in Washington, D.C., receiving the award twice. In 2003, Iowa Select Farms was also honored with the third annual George W. Bush Award for employer support for soldiers serving in the military.
The Hansens are members of the Order of the Knoll.