When it comes to dairying, the unpredictability is endless; however, farmers stick to it and do it with a passion and drive that is next to none. Throughout DFA, our members dedicate their livelihoods to producing safe, quality milk, all the while devoting time to their communities and Cooperative.
Marilyn Calvin, along with her husband, Kenneth, became members of Mid-America Dairymen in 1972, which later merged with other cooperatives to form DFA in 1998. Just a few years after joining Mid-Am, in 1980, Marilyn was elected as a delegate, and later served as district chairman. Through this opportunity, Marilyn had the opportunity to grow as a farmer by attending annual meetings and seeing how Mid-Am’s resolutions were developed through grassroots efforts.
As a current member of DFA’s Board of Directors, Marilyn believes in the power of education — throughout the Cooperative and industry.
“I participated in Missouri's Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow (ALOT) program,” says Marilyn, who milks 200 cows on her operation, Thunder Ridge Dairy, in Mt. Vernon, Mo., with her son Kenlee and grandson Bryce Ogle. The ALOT program included training sessions and trips around the world, to China, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.
“This two-year program was a life-changing event. It gave me the motivation to use what I learned to serve my fellow dairy farmers and the dairy industry.”
Her start in the ALOT program was exactly that — her start. Marilyn was later elected to the Mid-Am Southern Division board in 1994 and the corporate board in 1997, which led to her being one of the founding members of DFA’s Board of Directors and Southeast Area Council.
“Serving on the Board gives me a better understanding of our Cooperative and how our businesses are run,” Marilyn says. “I have come to appreciate our many talented employees and the expertise they bring to DFA.”
As an elected Cooperative leader, Marilyn says the needs of members on the farm are always a focus.
“As a Board member, I have seen firsthand the commitment and sincerity our Area Councils and Board members bring to DFA,” she says. “Dairy farmers across the country and back home are never forgotten.
“As DFA members, we can remain independent and free to make decisions on our own farms, unlike some segments of agriculture today. From our field representatives to our employees, DFA is committed to marketing our milk in the best possible way every day.”
While DFA’s main goal is to provide a market for its members’ milk, ensuring their operations are successful throughout all aspects is also imperative. Marilyn utilizes DFA Farm Services, including DFA Risk Management, DFA Insurance, DFA Farm Supplies and DFA Grazing, to help manage operations on her dairy.
“I am proud to be a DFA member because I have been able to watch DFA grow and evolve over the years,” Marilyn says. “We are a national dairy cooperative that has come together in an effort to make life better for all dairy farmers.”