Established in 1960.

Customer service in farm management, land sales, and investments is how Cotton-Grave has built its reputation since our establishment in 1960.

  • Location: 517 N Grand Avenue - Spencer, IA 51301
  • Phone: (712) 262-6425
  • Email: cottgrav@smunet.net

The Company

Ben Abben was a well known and respected farm loan supervisor and farm manager for the Equitable of Iowa Life Insurance Co. for 27 years. In 1960, he formed his own farm management, real estate, and appraisal business. Mr. Abben remained active until his death in 1981.

In 1965, John Cotton joined the firm which was then named Abben-Cotton Farm Management and Realty. The company enjoyed rapid growth managing farm properties in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

Gary Grave joined the firm on January 1, 1982. The company was named Cotton-Grave Farm Management and Realty when Gary became a partner in 1985.

Sharon Strough joined the firm in 2008 as the business manager.


Who We Are

John Cotton

John Cotton

John Cotton was raised on a farm near Lone Rock, Iowa. He graduated from Iowa State University, majoring in Farm Management.

He spent five years in Fort Dodge, Iowa as a farm manager and farm realtor with Farmers National Company of Omaha, Nebraska.

He is a member of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and past president of the Iowa Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. He is a licensed real estate broker in Iowa. He served as a bank director for 39 years.

In 1993, John was named Spencer's "Citizen of the Year" and is a past recipient of the Iowa State University Key Award. John is an active member and past president of Spencer
Rotary Club.

John served 13 years on the Board of Regents of Luther College at Decorah, Iowa and was Chairman of the Board from 1994 to 1996.

He has served as Chairman of the Board of the Iowa Public Television Foundation and continues to serve on the Board.

John is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Spencer Municipal Hospital and has served as Board Chairman of the Spencer Regional Healthcare Foundation.

He was named by Iowa State University as the recipient of the 1998 Professional Agri-Business Award.

Gary Grave

Gary Grave

Gary Grave was raised on a farm near Little Rock, Iowa. He is a graduate of Iowa State University, majoring in Farm Operations. He spent six years in Pipestone, Minnesota, and four years in Spencer, Iowa, as a farm manager, appraiser, and farm realtor with Farmers National Company of Omaha, Nebraska. He joined with John Cotton in 1982.

Gary has served as past president of the Daybreakers Kiwanis and the Board of Directors of the Spencer Association of Business and Industry. He has also served as Chairman of the Clay County Extension Nominating Committee and served on the Consistory of the Hope
Reformed Church.

He has served on the Board of Directors of the Spencer Family YMCA where he served both as president and treasurer. He is a member and past president of the Spencer Y's
Men's Club.

Gary is currently serving on the Advisory Board of Iowa Lakes Community College and as director of Community State Bank in Spencer.

Gary is a licensed real estate broker in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. He is a member of both the Iowa and Minnesota Chapters of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and has served on the Board of Directors of both the Iowa and Minnesota Chapters.

Sharon Strough

Sharon Strough

Sharon was raised on a dairy farm in central New York and moved to Iowa on a hog and cattle farm near New Market and later near Klemme, Iowa. She is a graduate of Iowa Lakes Community College with an Environmental Science degree and received her Bachelor's degree from Iowa State University with a double major in Animal Science and
Dairy Science.

Sharon worked at Spencer Livestock Sales for 20 years and has been with United Parcel Service for 19 years. She worked for Spencer Agronomy Services, Inc for several years before joining Cotton-Grave as business manager in 2008.

She served 11 years as secretary on the Board of Directors for the North West Iowa Youth Soccer Association. She is a member of the Spencer Rotary Club and serves on the Board of Directors for both the Spencer Rotary Club and Spencer PALS. Sharon is also active in her church and community projects.


Farm Management

Clients of Cotton-Grave Farm Management include local and absentee landowners, investors, trusts, estates,
and conservatorships.


Cotton-Grave selects the farm tenant. Preference is given to working with the existing tenant unless conditions dictate a change. We negotiate a crop share or cash rent lease, whichever is most beneficial for the owner.

Cotton-Grave sends a "Farm Management Plan Report" to clients each spring which gives the acreage layout and a summary of the crop inputs. We also send an "Annual Farm Management Report" to clients which represents our perspective of agricultural conditions throughout the year.

Cotton-Grave will monitor and report to the owner the farm and crop conditions throughout the year.

Cotton-Grave will handle all accounting, deposit receipts, and pay all bills, including real estate taxes and insurance. Financial reports are sent at midyear and in December. The year end financial sumary is a comprehensive, readable report that will serve as a basis for client's income tax preparation.

Cotton-Grave will take charge of marketing of the client's grain under the crop share leases and be responsible for administering the government farm programs.

Each year Cotton-Grave hosts a farm tenants meeting in which highly respected resource people give presentations on a variety of technology and business topics. We consider our farm tenants as equal partners in the success of the farm. We try at all times to be fair in our dealing with them and as a result, have developed a cordial and trusting business relationship with them. We feel this policy benefits owners.


Farm Real Estate

Cotton-Grave has been a leader since 1960 in farm real estate sales in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

We have a thorough understanding of the productivity of soils and the ability to project the production potential and rate of return from each farm. This gives us a unique ability to both effectively market a farm and analyze potential purchases
for investors.

We have a number of investors and producers actively seeking the purchase of farmland and have had considerable experience in assisting sellers and buyers effect 1031 exchanges.

Barn and Silo Image

Auctions

227 Acres, Clay County

227 Acres - Offerd in 3 tracts

Section 28 Riverton Township
Clay County, IA

Auction Date: August 6, 2014 - 10:00 am

Auction Location: Clay County Regional Events Center, Spencer, Iowa

Auction Bill

160 Acres, Clay County

160 Acress

Section 27 Logan Township
Clay County, IA

Auction Date: August 7, 2014 - 10:00 am

Auction Location: Dickens Community Center, Dickens, Iowa

Auction Bill

Recently Sold Farms

396 acres Clay County
640 acres Dickinson County
80 acres Dickinson County
160 acres Dickinson County
200 acres Clay County
150 acres Lyon County
80 acres Emmet County
81 acres Emmet County
61 acres Clay County
60 acres Clay County
76 acres Clay County
75 acres Clay County
105 acres pasture Clay County sold to local cattleman
55 acres Clay County sold to local farmer
80 acres Lyon County sold to local farmer
140 acres Lyon County sold to local farmer
80 acres Lyon County sold to local farmer
66 acres Clay County sold to investor
80 acres Dickinson County sold to local farmer
157 acres Dickinson County sold to investor
60 acres Kossuth County sold to local farmer
70 acres Clay County sold to local investor
80 acres Clay County sold to local farmer
120 acres Clay County sold to local investor
154 acres Clay County sold to investor
120 acres Clay County sold to investor
296 acres Clay County sold to local farmer & investor
160 acres Emmet County sold to investor


Contact Us

Phone: 712-262-6425
Fax: 712-262-6604
Email: cottgrav@smunet.net

PO Box 462
517 N Grand Avenue
Spencer, IA 51301