Marilyn Calvin

Dairy Farmers of America - Inducted in 2013


In her role as a dairy producer, Marilyn Calvin not only established a successful dairy, but she also assumed leadership roles in the industry and was always willing to help when asked by fellow cooperative members. Marilyn and her husband began their operation with one cow and 10 acres. Marilyn was responsible for record keeping and finances, working with lenders, as well being involved in the day-to-day operation of the dairy. Now, 40 years later, the operation has grown to 165 cows and 164 dairy replacement heifers on 455 acres, as a DHIA herd for 37 years.  Following the sudden death of her husband in 2010, Marilyn began operating the farm with her son and continued her tireless advocacy on behalf of cooperatives.


Marilyn’s unwavering dedication and willingness to serve her fellow co-op members when called upon is evident in the list of boards that have benefitted by Marilyn’s counsel.  Marilyn served as a corporate board member for Mid America Dairymen and DFA from 1997-2000.  She currently serves on the Southwest Area Council and Ozarks Region Secretary for Dairy Farmers of America from 1998 to present.  She also serves on the corporate boards of the Midwest Dairy Association and Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. 


In addition, Marilyn served as the committee chair for the Lawrence County Farm Service Agency and the Southwest Missouri Research Center.  After observing trends in the dairy industry, Marilyn was instrumental in establishing a seasonal, pasture-based dairy at the University of Missouri Southwest Research Center to evaluate the profitability and sustainability of this alternative system of dairying.  Marilyn’s advice was very important in the early years of the dairy at the center. The establishment of the pasture–based dairy proved to have important ramifications for not only Missouri, but for the entire U.S. dairy industry, as it has been used as a model for dairies nationwide. Since 2005, pasture-based dairies have created over $100 million in new investments and created 1,100 new jobs in Missouri.


Marilyn is a life-long learner and a frequent participant in MIC’s director development programs. She weighs decisions carefully, considering the impacts on her fellow dairy farmers.  Marilyn never seeks the limelight – always giving credit to others. Yet, it is no small accomplishment for Marilyn to be held in such high regard by her peers – elected as a representative by fellow dairy farmers for her knowledge, integrity, and wisdom.



passion for dairy farming; commitment to pursue what is best for dairy farmers; dedication to cooperative principles; innovative leadership; and 40 years of cooperative membership