When the South Dakota Department of Agriculture needed someone to help organize South Dakota Dairy Producers Association they turned to Marvin Post.
"Dairy producers needed a voice. There wasn't anyone to speak on behalf of dairy producers concerning state and national issues," said Post, a second generation South Dakota dairy producer and President of the American Dairy Association of South Dakota.
After being asked to take on the leadership role by then Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Even, Post worked with other dairy producers and the S.D. Department of Agriculture to organize South Dakota dairy producers. Since taking on the responsibility in 2008, Post spends time traveling to Pierre and visiting with the South Dakota delegation in Washington D.C. to ensure the interests of South Dakota dairy producers are known.
Along with serving as president of the American Dairy Association of South Dakota, Post also serves as president of the South Dakota Dairy Producers and Vice President of Ag United for South Dakota representing the South Dakota Dairy Industry. Post has also served in many leadership roles on several boards including; South Dakota Holstein Breeders Association, Midwest Dairy Association, Sioux Valley Energy, Volga Christian School, where he also worked as co-president of the fundraising campaign; and on the First Reformed Church Council.
Post grew up on a small farm near Volga. He says farming is the only career he ever wanted. And, although he didn't plan on pursuing a degree after high school, he soon realized that education would help him achieve his dream. His parents had nine children and the farm wasn't large enough to support another family. As a teen Post originally thought he'd skip college and save enough money working for area farmers to buy his own place.
"I spent the summer after high school working for a neighbor. I realized real fast I would never own my own farm working for a farmer. I needed a degree. So I went to SDSU and got a degree in Dairy Manufacturing," Post explained, of the degree that led to a successful career with Kraft Foods, Land O'Lakes - and eventually purchasing his own dairy farm.
In 1982 a retiring farmer sold him his farm contract for deed.
"It was with the Lord's blessing that I was able to get my own farm. I was able to get a loan from the Farmer's Home Administration to build a barn and the rest is history."
Early on in their dairy farming career, refining their herd's genetics became a passion of Post and his wife, Joy. In 1984 they began using the relatively new technology of embryo transfer and entered the world of registered genetics.
"Genetics have always intrigued me," Post said. "When it comes to technology I've always operated on the philosophy that when everyone is running - walk. And, when everyone is walking - run."
At first the FHA loan officer didn't see the value of Post investing in genetics. He didn't agree with the increased value Post used on his balance sheet. That is, until Post was offered $10,000 at the World Dairy Expo for one of his heifers.
"I called the FHA loan officer up and said, 'you know that heifer you didn't think had any special value? Well, I was just offered $10,000 to send her to South America. What should I do?' The loan officer said he'd call me back. When he did he recommended I keep her to build up my herd,'" Post said. "I listened to his advice and the loan officer never questioned anything I wanted to do after that."
Over the years Post's genetics became known throughout the dairy industry. Along with helping improve his herd's milk production, he said selling genetics also helped supplement the farm's income.
He is frequently asked to share his insight on dairy farming and genetics with SDSU dairy production students as well as give tours of his dairy operation. Today, his son, Doug has taken on the continued genetic development at his own dairy operation.
Like Post, all of his children showed cattle in 4-H and state Holstein shows. Three of his four children pursued degrees in Dairy Science at SDSU and one in Veterinary Science. Post and Joy have four married children - Doug Post, Angie Ferwerda, Tanya Triebwasser and Melissa Olson - who have blessed them with 12 grandchildren.
"It's rewarding to see all the children involved in production agriculture in some degree, and the excitement of the grandchildren to enter this profession is also fulfilling," Post said. "We have the debate over which grandchild will take over 'Papa's' farm."
Today Post still milks 60 cows, and he and Joy have expanded their cropping acres. Over the years he has helped many young farmers get a start.
"So often you see someone who just needs a little help, and with that help they can flourish. I was given opportunities so I'll do what I can to help others," he said.