Family, Farming and Business: The Iott Orchard and Ranch

Family, Farming and Business:

The Iott Orchard and Ranch

by Debbe Skutch

It was my pleasure to visit the Iott Orchard and Ranch in Petersburg, Michigan.Marilyn Iott took the time to give me a brief tour of the more than 90 acres of apple orchards and fields of tomatoes, cabbage and corn.I witnessed innovative farming techniques and traditional values of business, family and farming at work.The following is a conversation with Marilyn about the past, present and future of her family’s business.

Tell us about the history of your family and your business.

In 1960 my husband, Cork, and I moved from 7 miles south of here to begin our own family farm.Cork grew up on his family’s farm.We have five children, three boys and two girls.Kevin is 36 and is in the business, Kerry is 32 and also lives nearby and works here.Our youngest son, Kory is a senior in high school and plans on attending college and then entering the family business. We have two daughters, Kim, 33, a travel agency manager and Katrina, 27, who owns her own computer consulting firm.

All our children grew up on the farm and worked many hours from an early age to help it succeed.They have sacrificed much. The girls had no interest in staying on the farm and Kory’s contribution will be different than his brothers’ because of changes in generation and farming. More…

Successful Family Meetings: A Critical Foundation for Business Longevity

Successful Family Meetings:Northeastern University
A Critical Foundation for Business Longevity

Family Business Quarterly

One of the best ways for keeping family members committed to their companies, as well as dealing with the inevitable conflicts that get in the way of long-term success, is to hold regular family meetings, argued Drew S. Mendoza, Program Director of the Family Business Center at Loyola University, Chicago.

Mendoza recently traveled to Boston to lead a Half-Day Forum on “Holding Family Meetings: The Whys and the Wherefores” for NUCFB members. Through presentations and small-group discussions, he provided guidelines for “winning at family meetings” to enhance the family spirit that he termed “critical” to keeping the business alive across generations. More…