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.
Mike Koenecke joined in February 2019 and Brent Swart joined in February 2021 as part of the succession of the Cotton-Grave firm.