Justen Ollendick, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern: Selfless, giving, and loving are just a few words to describe this Yuma County farming family. With over three generations of farmers in the Ott family, there has been nothing but progress as their enterprise has continued to expand. Farming in the northern and southern parts of the Gila Valley, central
An interview with Lee Ott of Gila Valley Farms - Yuma, Arizona
Part of an ongoing series about Arizona agriculture’s farmers and ranchers.
Talk about your farm: My brother, Larry, and I farm approximately 6,000 acres in Yuma County, Arizona and we have been farming for nearly 30 years. We grow winter vegetables and we rotate with wheat, cotton,
Lee, Bailee and Candy Ott at the Yuma County Fair.
What changes have you seen in your lifetime as it relates to farming? More advanced technology such as a cabbed tractor complete with an air conditioner, oh yeah and GPS and satellite technology, too. We are faced with more strict government regulations than ever before while trying to meet the
Why did you choose to go into agriculture? I followed in my forefathers’ footsteps. I wanted to carry on the family tradition.
What generation of farming are you? I am a fourth generation farmer in Yuma County. My
Will anyone in your family...younger generation...pursue farming and/or ranching? Yes, my daughter, Bailee, is currently majoring in Agricultural Systems and Technology Management. My nephew is also going into the AG field.
Would you ever consider growing an emerging crop or changing your farm or ranch model? Yes, we are constantly changing to meet the needs and demands of the consumers. We are always experimenting with new strains of produce.
What are your community activities? Why are you involved? My wife, Candy, and I are volunteer 4-H beef leaders in the Yuma Moos 4-H club. I also serve on the Ag Advisory Board for Gila Ridge High School’s Ag program. We try to give back to the community as much as we can, we feel it is very important to do so, and we love the beef program so this is something we enjoy.
Lee and Candy are actively involved in ag youth programs.
What is one fact/experience/achievement no one knows about you? I was inducted as an honorary Gila Ridge FFA member for my work on the advisory board, the FFA barbeque, and the annual banquet.
Why are you a farm bureau member? We are Arizona Farm Bureau members because of their efforts to keep lawmakers informed of agricultural issues and for always fighting for American Agriculture.
How do you participate with your county Farm Bureau?
I served on the board for three years and I am a continual voter and current member. Our daughter,
How will the next generation of farmers have to operate?
They’re going to have a lot more government regulations to deal with then what we do now. The food safety laws will be even stricter and they will have to deal with an uninformed public who view the "big" farmer as enemy number one.