Member Spotlight: JOHN & SHANNON LATHAM

Through IPSA, they’ve developed plenty of relationships with different folks in the industry, but they don’t need much to be recognized. Our Member Spotlight this month focuses on Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, owned by John and Shannon Latham.

John Latham grew up right next to their company headquarters in Alexander, Iowa; but, working in agriculture wasn’t always what he dreamed of doing.

“I originally dreamed of being a U.S. Senator,” John says. “I met Senator Grassley when I was young, and from there, I thought politics would be a great profession. Fortunately, I got involved in the seed business instead!”

John instead went to Iowa State University and graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in agricultural business. From there, he joined the seed industry, and has found IPSA incredibly important in his journey.

“IPSA has allowed us to further develop relationships that help our business,” he says. “We’ve gotten a great deal of value from the IPSA winter conference, including the great speakers and breakout sessions. We’ve also gotten to take advantage of programs like the hardbox program and seed treatment testing, which provide a huge benefit to the business.”

As president of Latham Hi-Tech Seed, John gets to do just a bit of everything, but he mainly focuses on product development and sales. Also, in addition to running Latham’s Hi-Tech Seed, John is serving as the incoming ASTA Chair. But, in his free time, he spends a majority of time attending his kids’ activities. From football to basketball to showing horses, he says his two children, Elle and Ian, are doing it all. Add that with a lab named Bailey, and the Lathams have a whole pack!

Shannon, meanwhile, grew up on an acreage in Northeast Iowa and was actively involved in agriculture growing up. She was a 10 year 4-H member, earned a trip to the National 4-H Congress for Ag Careers, and placed second in state for the Sheep Project award. It seemed only natural for her to move onto Iowa State and double major in agriculture journalism and public service and administration in ag from there.

However, Shannon shares that she also dreamed of becoming something else whhen she was growing up: a veterinarian!

“I’ve always been an animal lover,” she says. “I loved going to the sale barn with my dad and buying bottle lambs when I was too young for school. By the time I graduated high school, I could do everything from giving vaccinations and putting in ear tags to hauling my own sheep to the fair.”

When not on bleachers for different events for her children, Shannon shares that she is a hobby farmer.

“I started Enchanted Acres pumpkin patch in 2012,” she says. “Each weekend during the fall, I host events to help families enjoy their time together. I also post all year long on my Enchanted Acres’ Facebook page and blog to advocate for agriculture.”

However, the seed industry really holds Shannon’s heart.

“My favorite part of the industry is the people whom I’ve met — from industry colleagues to farmer customers,” she says. “You won’t meet any more genuine, humble, and compassionate people in the world. I’m excited about the future of seed traits and technologies as well — I can only imagine what the next 15 years will bring!”

Thank you, John and Shannon, for being such wonderful members!