Two of Ann Vostad’s passions are the dairy industry and impacting the lives of youth – both of which she has dedicated her life’s work to supporting.
Vostad has worked as a substitute teacher and volunteer in the Sioux Valley School District in Volga for 24 years. During that time, she has taught every class from K-12 in the school in which she grew up, met her husband Kevin and graduated.
“I love the variety of being a substitute teacher and it is so rewarding to help the students and watch them grow,” Vostad said. “I learn something new from them every day.”
Every morning before heading to school, Vostad milks cows for Marv Post at Post Lane Dairy, which she has been doing for the past 26 years.
“I love my mornings in the barn,” she said.
Growing up on a dairy farm by Volga, Vostad started learning to milk cows, feed calves and everything else that goes into raising dairy cattle at a young age. After gaining a degree in agriculture banking from Pipestone Vocational Technical Institute in Pipestone, Minnesota, she and Kevin returned to her family’s dairy farm where they milked registered Jersey’s.
Following the dispersal of her family’s herd, Vostad went to work at Post Lane Dairy. In December 1994, the Vostad’s started their own dairy operation while she continued her employment at Post Lane Dairy.
Their three kids, Stephanie Mattson, Ashley Seifert and Thorwald Vostad, showed the family’s dairy cattle in 4-H, FFA and open class shows. The Vostad’s now help several of their grandkids show the cattle in 4-H.
Vostad served as an officer in the South Dakota Jersey Cattle Association. She also regularly writes a grant to the Midwest Dairy Association for dairy products to be served during the academic testing sessions at Sioux Valley Schools and during the Brookings County 4-H Achievement Days.
“I am really passionate about promoting dairy products and the dairy industry,” she said.
When Vostad isn’t teaching or milking cattle, she is often volunteering in a variety of ways at the school. She is the official bookkeeper for the school’s volleyball and basketball teams, even traveling to away games with the teams. She also helps with the FFA chapter, and as a result of her dedication and support of the program, she received an Honorary State FFA Degree at the State FFA Convention this spring.
While her children were in school, Vostad served in leadership capacities with both the Sioux Valley Music Masters and the Sioux Valley Booster Club. Part of her duties with Music Masters included planning a trip for the band and choir students every two years. Additionally, for the past 11 years, the Vostad’s have sponsored three scholarships for three seniors who have been actively involved during their high school careers. Vostad was named a Sioux Valley School District Outstanding Alumni in 2009.
“I believe that being an active part of your community is so important,” Vostad explained.
She also writes Sioux Valley Cossacks sports stories for the local newspaper, something she has done for 15 years.
“Writing for the paper keeps me involved with the kids and I really enjoy going to all the games,” she said.
For the past 26 years, Vostad has also served as leader of the Brookings County West Sioux II 4-H Club. Her children were very involved in 4-H, doing everything from showing dairy cattle, sheep and pigs to special foods, fashion revue and judging. The club’s membership continues to grow under her enthusiastic leadership.
Additionally, she served as president of the South Dakota 4-H Leader’s Board and currently holds the role of secretary for the Brookings County 4-H Leader’s Board. She was named the Friend of Brookings County 4-H in 2011.
“I love what I do and feel so blessed to do it. I am so grateful for the people who have supported and believed in me,” she said.
The South Dakota State University College of Agriculture recognized four individuals with the Eminent Leaders in Agriculture, Family and Community honor during a banquet Sept. 20 at McCrory Gardens in Brookings.
The 2019 Eminent Leaders are Donna Adrian of White River, Gary Cammack of Union Center, Ludwig Hohm of Yale and Ann Vostad of Volga.
Established in 1927 with the Eminent Farmer award, the program recognizes South Dakota citizens for their leadership and service.
The honorees’ photos join the more than 300 portraits of Eminent Leaders displayed in the “Hall of Fame” portrait gallery in Berg Agricultural Hall on the campus of SDSU.