Allen Housh


Allen Housh was prepared to spend his life as a high school agricultural vocational teacher. It was natural for him to prepare for a career in agriculture. The Garner, Iowa, native had been around the livestock business his entire life, and he went to Iowa State specifically to major in agricultural education.

"I wanted to be able to get a job out of school and thought I would wind up teaching," says Allen, a 1957 Iowa State graduate and current Edina, Minn., resident.

The plan was on track during his senior year. He had interviewed with a couple of schools when he went to a career fair. A position with Cargill intrigued him but it was too late to sign up for a campus interview.

But Allen's career path was significantly altered when a college friend gave up his interview slot.

"After that interview with Cargill, I was invited up to Minneapolis, and the rest, as they say, is history," Allen says. "I spent 36 years with Cargill, so I guess it really worked out well."

Allen's career at Cargill took him from Fort Dodge to Des Moines, Memphis, and finally Minneapolis where he retired as a corporate vice president for transportation. There he was directly responsible for Cargill's barge business.

Prior to moving into the transportation department, Allen was a commodity trader for Cargill where he traded soybeans, oil seeds, and sunflower seeds. It was a long way from a high school classroom, but it was a career in which Allen thrived.

"I enjoyed trading," he says. "It really gets under your skin."

When it came time for Allen to establish a scholarship at Iowa State, he knew exactly the area he wanted to support. Allen and his wife, Jean, have created the Housh Scholarship for Agricultural Education and Studies.

"I wanted to continue the relationship I had already established at Iowa State in agricultural education," he explains. "I had done really well in this area while I was a student, and I thought it was important to follow up by establishing a scholarship in that discipline.

"Agricultural education gave me a good foundation for my career, and hopefully this scholarship will help Iowa State students in their career paths."

The Housh Scholarship was established through an initial gift and has been awarded to students majoring in agricultural education since 2004. The couple has also ensured that the scholarship will continue in perpetuity, thanks to a deferred gift of IRA assets.

"The most logical thing we could do with the IRA was to give it away rather than have our estate pay taxes on it," Allen says.

"I guess philanthropy is in my blood," he adds. "My dad was very civic-minded and my mom was also philanthropic. It felt really good to be able to do this for today's and future students of Iowa State."