Laurent O’Gene Lollis “Gene” is a 1993 graduate of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Department of Animal Sciences (UF/IFAS ANS). He has served as the Ranch Manager of Archbold Biological Station’s Buck Island Ranch (BIR) since 1996 and is the current Florida Cattlemen’s Association President.
Lollis manages the day-to-day operations of the 10,500-acre ranch with a herd of about 3,000 head of cattle. The operation is a balance of a working cattle operation and a research site with multiple projects running simultaneously.
Lollis is an overall advocate for the Florida cattle industry as his involvement spans from serving as FCA’s President to being the acting CEO and Chairman of the Board of Florida Cattle Ranchers, Inc., an organization focused on producing local beef products in a transparent forum. He also serves as a member of Florida Heritage Beef, the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the United States Animal Health Association and sits on the Commissioner of Agriculture’s Animal Institute Technical Council. Lollis said he had a lot of favorite memories from his time at UF, but one stood out more than the others.
“Just getting to know a lot of different folks from across the state,” said Lollis. “Contacts and getting to know people really stand out.”
Lollis started his college career at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida all the while working for the UF/IFAS ANS Meats Processing Center and Beef Unit.
From there, he transferred to ANS and specialized in beef production. He had some advice for the recent graduates of the department.
“It’s pretty doggone simple, you gotta get up, you gotta show up, you gotta participate, and never give up no matter where life leads you,” said Lollis. “It’s going to throw stuff at you, and it may be a whole host of things.”
Pouring into the next generation of agriculturalists is another way Lollis spends his time. Nearly every year, Gene and BIR host at least one student intern hoping to learn more about the Florida cattle industry or working in research and conservation. Students interested in the cattle industry are housed at the ranch and gain exposure to every facet of the industry.
“What I ask every intern is to have yourself a set of goals,” said Lollis. “Three to five goals that you want to achieve while you’re here. You’re going to come in, you’re going to work with us, but the goals are the things you do above and beyond. You make it what you want it.”
According to Lollis, agriculture is about perseverance and it is a field that brings gratitude over time, not overnight. Success looks different depending on the individual. He said success is not about how much money you make, but about helping others.
“Number one, it’s about believing in God, family and at the end of the day,” said Lollis. “If you can say you put forth 100% of your ability to accomplish your day, you’re a success.”
Find more information about UF/IFAS Animal Sciences on our website. Stay in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about Buck Island Ranch visit their website. If you are interested in being featured in a UF ANS Alumni Spotlight please contact Shelby O. Thomas at email@example.com.