Arlen Schwinke

Mid-America Dairymen and Dairy Farmes of America - Inducted in 2012

Arlen Schwinke’s involvement in cooperatives traces back more than 70 years. In 1939 he purchased feed for 4-H and FFA projects through MFA. In 1940 his family became members of the REA, and in 1947 Mr. Schwinke began marketing milk through cooperatives.  From 1956-1960, he was a county agent in Wright County – he had occasion to hear a speech by O.E. Allen, Extension Dairy Marketing Specialist at the University of Missouri. Mr. Allen advocated that cooperatives should stop competing for sales and start cooperating. It was a message Mr. Schwinke took to heart. As a member of the Missouri Institute of Cooperatives Board for 38 years – the longest serving MIC board director – he encouraged cooperatives to work together.

In 1972 Mr. Schwinke was a member of the inaugural class in the Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership (GICL) at the University of Missouri – he remains one of the few board members to participate in GICL’s annual summer program.

Mr. Schwinke gave generously of his time and leadership on behalf of cooperatives and agriculture. He served on the boards of directors of Square Deal Milk Producers, the St. Louis-Ozarks Marketing Association, Mid-America Dairymen, starting in 1968 - where he held the position of treasurer from 1978-1994; and Dairy Farmers of America from 1994-2001. He also served as president of the Association of Missouri Dairy Organizations, and served 26 years on the state board of the Missouri Farm Bureau. His calendar may have been filled with meeting dates, but his voice mail always told the real story – that he and Kay were “out giving tender, loving care to our cows.”  

Mr. Schwinke has been honored with numerous awards including Citation of Merit from the Ag Alumni Association at the University of Missouri and the Distinguished Service Award from Gamma Sigma Delta.

His life-long commitment to cooperatives has been supported through tireless service and many hours of “extra time” promoting cooperative principles.



passion for cooperation among cooperatives; dedicated leadership; enthusiasm for cooperative principles; and more than 40 years of board service