, | Certificate of Distinction: 2000
During a career that is approaching 50 years, Larry Curless has distinguished himself as a farmer, as the owner of a financial services business, as the board chairman of Indiana's largest system of farm cooperatives and as a community leader.
Curless received his B.S. in Agriculture from Purdue University in 1953. With his son, he owns Curless Farms, which consists of 925 acres of crops and a 600 sow farrow¬to-finish operation in Wabash County. When his son returned to the farm in 1979, Curless expanded his bookkeeping and accounting enterprise into a full time business. Curless Bookkeeping and Tax Service, Inc. now has three full-time and three part-time employees and serves more than 100 corporate and 650 individual clients. As a bookkeeping and tax professional, Curless was a leader in adopting computer technology and offered its benefits to farmers at a time when the technology was still prohibitively expensive for many producers. Curless expounded the benefits of computerized record keeping systems to farmers as an improved management tool that could be used to test different management schemes "on paper," before making the commitment to them in an operation.
Over the years Curless has lent his talents to many agricultural organizations, both locally and at the state level. His service has included memberships on the Indiana Pork Producers Research Committee, the Wabash County 4-H Fair Board, and the Region 5 Soil Erosion Assessment Committee. Curless was the secretary of the Wabash County Pork Producers and was the shareholder representative of CF Industries. Curless has assumed leadership roles by serving as president of the Indiana Farm Management Association, Wabash County Farm Bureau Co-op, Noble Township Farm Bureau, Wabash County Extension Advisory Council, and the board of Pro Ag Co., Inc.
Curless served as chairman of the board of the Indiana Farm Bureau Co-op beginning in 1990 and presided over its 1991 merger with the Countrymark co-op system that covered Ohio and Michigan. Curless then served as board chairman of the merged system, Countrymark Co-op, Inc. As chair¬man of the $2 billion Countrymark, Curless encouraged the cooperative to be innovative and to expand its operations into new ventures, including customer financing, value-added crop pro-duction and marketing, and certifying producers and contracting hog production for a packing plant. Curless continued to serve on the Countrymark board after his term as chairman, and he is currently a director of Countrymark's successor, Land 0' Lakes, Inc.
Curless has been generous with his time in service to his community, as well. He has served as chairman of the Wabash Valley Music Association, director of the Wabash County Leadership and Development Committee, and chairman of the Pastor's Pulpit Committee-Presbyterian Church. Curless has been an advocate for local schools, serving as president of the School Reorganization Committee (1963), president of the Southwood Grade School PTO, president of Southwood High School Music Parents Association, and member of the Committee for Direction of Metropolitan School District of Wabash County.
Currently Curless serves as director of the Honeywell Foundation, Inc. in Wabash and is a member of the YMCA Steering Committee. He teaches adult Sunday School at the First United Methodist Church of Wabash. A member of the Purdue All-American Marching Band Alumni, Curless has been a supporter of local and school music groups and is a member of the Wabash Community Theater and Orchestra.