Iott Seed Farms dates back more than 100 years spanning 4 generations. The operation began when brothers Ralph and Jim Iott purchased property in Monroe County in 1953. The original farm produced several varieties of vegetables and canning tomatoes before adding potato production in the early ‘60s. In the early ‘70s, the type of land needed for reliable potato production was getting scarce in southern Michigan so Ralph and Jim purchased 500 acres in Kalkaska, Michigan in 1974. Currently, Iott Seed Farms is a 1,500-acre farm located in Kalkaska County in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and employs five full time employees.
The main production of Iott Seed Farms is seed potatoes which are produced to sell to growers across the state to be planted into the field. Greg Iott emphasizes that, “Our mission is to provide premier seed potatoes and innovative services to our customers”.
Iott Seed Farms is proud to support numerous local charities, school sport programs and other community programs. In fact, Greg says, “We see value in investing in our community and helping those who are less fortunate in any way that we can”.
Environmental stewardship is an important aspect of Iott Seed Farms. Greg comments, “Being efficient with resources is not only important for the environment but also for ourselves. There is an economic penalty for farmers if they are not efficient with their resources. Therefore, we strive for efficiency and proper management of our resources as it is mutually beneficial”.
As part of environmental stewardship, Iott Seed Farms has worked to keep a high standard. For example, in 2015, Iott Seed Farms received its Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program verification. MAEAP’s mission is “To develop and implement a proactive environmental assurance program ensuring that Michigan farmers are engaging in cost-effective pollution prevention practices and working to comply with state and federal regulations.”
Another example is in 2004 when Iott Seed Farms received the honor of being named “4R Advocates” by the 4R Nutrient Stewardship, which each year honors a small group of farmers for “promoting best management practices to achieve cropping system goals while minimizing nutrient loss and maximizing crop uptake.”
When asked why he chose this lifestyle, Greg responded with, “You don’t pick it, it picks you. It is a good way to make a living and I have enjoyed it since I was a kid”.