The contributions of Marvin Kruse as a leader in dairy cattle improvement and the sponsorship of programs that benefit cattle breeders covers a span of over 40 years. He not only has contributed much to the progress of Brown Swiss breeders, as well as Milking Shorthorn herd owners in Missouri, his efforts for many years were on a national and international scale.
He was born April 28, 1918 and grew up on a general livestock farm in east central Nebraska. His father was recognized as a Nebraska Master Farmer. Marvin was active in both 4-H and FFA and served as president of the Nebraska chapter of the Future Farmers of America. He was awarded both the State and American FFA degrees. He graduated from the University of Nebraska with a B.S. degree in Animal Husbandry. From 1941- 1951, with 34 months out for active duty in the U.S. Army Air Force, Marvin was employed as a county agent in Nebraska.
In 1951 Marvin became the Western Fieldman for the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders Association of America. The move began a career with the Association that continued for 30 years. He served as the fieldman for 22 states including Missouri until 1961 when he was move to the national Brown Swiss Headquarters, Beliot, Wisconsin as Editor of the Brown Swiss Bulletin. In 1963 he was named Secretary-Treasurer of the Association – a position he held for 15 years. He developed the association’s marketing service and served as manager of Brown Swiss Enterprises, Inc. In this capacity he developed the growing foreign and domestic markets for cattle and semen. He retired from the Brown Swiss Association in 1981 and became the Executive Secretary of the American Milking Shorthorn and the International Illawarra Association with headquarters at Springfield, MO. He assisted these organizations for the next three years by establishing programs for breed improvement, promotion and growth.
Through 1951-1961 Marvin marked closely with Missouri Brown Swiss Cattle Breeder’s Association and assisted in planning program for breed improvement and growth. Five Canton districts were established. Shows were held; DHI and DHIR testing were promoted as well as junior dairy activities. Since retirement in 1984 Marvin has become active in both the Missouri Brown Swiss Cattle Breeder’s Association and the Missouri Milking Shorthorn Association as Secretary Treasurer and as coordinator of state and national activities. He personally has established small herds of both breeds. Marvin has been active in many organizations related to dairy cattle breeding and the livestock industry. These include the Purebred Dairy Cattle Association; the National Society of Livestock Record Associations (President); the National Livestock and Meat Board; the American Dairy Science Association; Agriservices Foundation Stockman’s School Board of Advisors and Badger Chapter National Agri-Marketing Association (Charter Member). An active member of Dairy Shrine ·since 1951, Marvin has given strong long-time support to that organization’s goals and objectives. He has chaired most committees, and when President in 1966, more new members (918) were secured than any other year to date. He spearheaded the formation of a World Brown Swiss Organization and chaired the International Meeting of representatives from 19 countries where a resolution was adopted to establish an organization to unify efforts of research, improvement and promotion of the breed world-wide. This International Conference of Brown Swiss Breeders was held at Madison, Wisconsin, October 3, 1980.
Marvin has been the recipient of many honors during his long career including the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben “Good Neighbor Citation” 1949; commissioned a Kentucky Colonel for special service to the state, 1973; awarded Honorary Membership in the South African Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Society, 1975; presented a citation for 25 years of dedicated service to the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association of the USA, 1975; The World Dairy Expo for Integrity, Creativity, and Leadership with Expo Programs for International Guests, 1980; the Federation of Brown Cattle Breeders of Switzerland for service to the organization, 1980, and Marquis Who’s Who in the Midwest.
Throughout the years Marvin has had the support of his wife Ople, who he married in 1941 at Chappell, Nebraska. The Kruse’s have three children: Thomas, Media Representative, Oregon Medical School, Portland; David, an interior decorator, Mosinee, Wisconsin, and the daughter Mrs. Kathryn Erlacher, Innsbruck, Austria.
Marvin and Ople are now firmly entrenched Missourians. He is president of Lutheran Brotherhood’s South Missouri Branch 8621, and he serves as head usher as member of Messiah Lutheran Church’s Worship and Music Committee. He and Ople are active in a 50-plus group and in the Ozark Scandanavian Society. It is our pleasure to see him recognized with the 1987 AMDO Dairy Leadership Award and occupy a place in the Missouri Hall of Dairy Honors.