Steve Cottom of Dillon, MT, was seated as a Board Member on the United States Potato Board (USPB) at the organization’s 38th Annual Meeting, March 9-12, in Denver, CO. He was named to serve on the Board by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on March 2, 2010 for a three-year term ending February 28, 2013. New Board Members serving on the USPB in their first three-year term can be reappointed to serve another consecutive three-year term.
Cottom is a fifth generation seed potato grower from Dillon, Montana and has been involved with seed potato production for 40 years. He is an owner of Cottom Seed, Inc., an organization started by Cottom’s great-great grandparents George and Elizabeth Cottom who settled in Idaho’s Lemhi Valley in 1881 to farm and ranch. The Cottom farm gained a reputation for quality potato production.
In search of better soil, conducive to seed production, Cottom’s grandfather, Philip Cottom, moved the farm from Idaho over the mountains to its present location in Montana’s Beaverhead Valley. Today, Cottom Seed produces about 460 acres of seed potatoes, specializing in Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet, Norkotah Russet and Rio Grande Russet varieties. The farm also grows 1,500 acres of spring wheat, barley and about 1,000 acres of alfalfa.
Cottom serves on the Research Committee of the Montana Potato Improvement Association, an organization his grandfather, Philip, helped establish. He is the Vice Chairman of United Potato Growers of Montana.
Cottom also serves as a Farm Credit Advisory Board Chairman, East Bench Irrigation District Chairman and as a member of the Montana Grain Growers Association. He is involved with the Joint Board of the East Bench Irrigation District and the Airport Affected Area Appeals Board.
Cottom is a graduate of Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, and has a BS degree in agricultural engineering. He enjoys golf, skiing, hiking, camping, gardening and photography. He is married to Catherine Cottom and they have three children: a daughter, Lindsey Cottom Clarke; and two sons Travis and Trent Cottom.
Authorized under the 1971 Potato Research and Promotion Act, the USPB is composed of producers, importers and a public member appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. Producer members are nominated at state and local producer meetings and by mail ballot. Each state is entitled to at least one producer member, and additional members are allotted on the basis of the volume of production. Importer members are nominated by importers, and the number of members is related to the volume of imports, up to a maximum of five importer members.
The USPB administers an industry-funded national research and promotion program to increase US exports and domestic potato consumption. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service oversees the operations of the USPB. More information about the research and promotion programs is available at www.ams.usda.gov/FVPromotion.
Posted by Kaci Switzer