Mr. Hilbert Bogue had improved the quality of South Dakota rural life for nearly 60 years by the time he received the Eminent Farmer honor in 1983. Bogue, of Beresford, South Dakota, had begun his public-service career as the first leader of the Lincoln County 4-H Livestock Club when it was organized about 1924, and he went on to distinguish himself not only as an agricultural leader, but also as a legislator and a strong proponent for elementary, secondary, and higher education in South Dakota.
He began farming with his father, Edward, in 1921, following graduation from high school. By 1930, he had met and married Myrtle Erickson, and by 1935 he had purchased the family farm from his father. Additional land was purchased during the following ten years, and Bogue formed a cattle-feeding partnership with his brother, Alan, who by then had returned from military service. Soon, they were feeding from 2,000 to 4,000 head per year. By 1959, Bogue’s son, David, had finished his military obligations and also joined in the operation. Additional land then was purchased, bringing the farm size to its present 800 acres. David suggested the addition of a hog-feeding operation, and now the farm handles 2,000 head per year.
Son David took over the farm after Bogue’s semi-retirement in 1972, and the cattle feeding ended. And now, Bogue’s grandsons maintain a flock of registered Suffolk sheep on the farm, and this marks the fourth generation of the family to be involved on this same place.
Over the years, Bogue has been a lifetime member of the Farm Bureau and has given lengthy service to the Crop Improvement Association, the Lincoln County Livestock Feeders Association, and the Lincoln County Pork Producers. He served as a director of the Yankton Production Credit Association for 21 years. Bogue was chairman of the advisory board of the Intermediate Credit Bank of Omaha when, in 1972, he represented the states of South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Iowa before the joint Agriculture Committee of the United States Congress in Washington, D.C., in testifying for the agriculture bill.
In 1947, he was appointed to the State Board of Education, when school district reorganization was a major issue in the state. In 1955, he resigned to be elected to the State Senate where he served until 1963. There, he became involved in passing the bill which resulted from his earlier State Board activity in school reorganization. He also was prime sponsor of the bill which created the Southeast Experiment Farm at Centerville.
Bogue went on to chair several important Senate committees and was named Speaker Pro-Tem. He did not seek re-election after 1963 and was immediately appointed to the State Board of Regents. In this capacity, he was responsible for gaining approval for a large number of dormitories, classrooms, and other needed buildings on the campuses of South Dakota until he retired from the Board in 1969.
The much-honored farmer received the T.M. Risk Award for distinguished service to higher education from Phi Delta Kappa at the University of South Dakota in 1973.