Life isn’t necessarily linear; it zigs and zags, and sometimes, it takes you in a direction that you never intended to go. Such is the case with Marvin Reiff, and the amazing evolution of Greenwood Silo.

“If something’s not working, you have to figure out why, so you can fix it!”

This quote by Marvin Reiff can be applied to his entire life. Since childhood, Marvin has always had an inventive and inquisitive mind. His mother would often say that he would spend more time thinking about how he could do something easier or more efficient, rather than just getting the job done.  Planning and conceptualizing are Marvin’s strengths. His acute analytical abilities allow him to dissect problems and come up with real-world solutions. How he eventually became a pioneer and revolutionize the silo industry was not a straight line.

With a dream of creating a self-sustaining dairy farm, Marvin’s father uprooted his family from their 50- acre farm near Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania when Marvin was 12 years old. They moved to a 220-acre dairy farm in Greenwood, Wisconsin. There, Marvin and his two older brothers and one sister helped on the dairy farm, milking and tending to the animals.

The plan was for Marvin to take over ownership and operations of the family farm after he got married. While he enjoyed farming, “it wasn’t something I did intentionally, the opportunity to take over the family farm was there, and we took it.” Marvin recalled.

As full-time farmers, Marvin and his brother James, who had a neighboring farm, were constantly exploring ways they could mutually consolidate costs. The brothers would help each other with field work, including chopping and planting for their herds. Because they were paying four times the price for bagged corn in a premixed calf feed mix than it would cost to have it delivered in bulk to their farms, Marvin and James headed to an auction, intending to purchase two grain bins. Instead, the duo instead purchased a used, 20-foot by 35- foot Harvestore silo and unloader, intending to convert it into 2 small grain bins.

This is where the journey makes a little zag, that first silo was never rebuilt on their farms.  When a family member who was also farming found out about the silo, he asked if they could rebuild it for him.  They were like, “Sure why not!” Marvin says, “I guess we were young and dumb, but brave enough to jump in and learn how to swim after we hit the water” Faced with limited funds and resources, the young farmers struggled to get their feet under them.  They needed to think outside the box and improvise to make ends meet.

Faced with the task of taking down the silo, in the few short winter months between the end of November to mid-February, they designed and built a complete jacking system to take down and rebuild Harvestore silos in their shop with very basic tools like a stick welder, band saw and cutting torch.  Marvin recalls, with a shake of his head, “I still don’t know how we did it, between taking care of the daily chores of our farms and then spending the days and late evenings in the shop, that we actually got it accomplished.” After successfully rebuilding the silo for the family member, other farmers started inquiring about having a silo built or asking for help with their service needs. Marvin and James came to the realization that there was a vast need in the farming community for their expertise, and realized that this could be a viable business venture.

Both brothers were still heavily dependent on their dairy farms for their families' survival. To supplement their income, they began servicing unloaders for other farmers. Every job they finished added to their knowledge base and presented opportunities to improve upon the deficiencies of an antiquated feed storage system. In 2012, when his brother decided to follow a different business direction, Marvin became the sole owner of the business.

“Over the years, silos had gotten a bad reputation. It turns out that there was very little innovation and improving being done in the Silo and equipment designs after since the 1970’s era.”

Through the years, Marvin came to the realize he truly enjoyed talking to and interacting with people, much more than the solitary life that came with dairy farming. He continued to push forward on his dream to turn Greenwood Silo into a leader of its industry. So, in 2015 after 10 years of operating a dairy farm, he decided to dedicate all of his efforts to growing Greenwood Silo, putting his faith in God that he was being led in the direction he needed to go.

Since then, Greenwood Silo has flourished, and Marvin has continued to revolutionize the silo industry. Through his dynamic innovations, Marvin continues to strive to help his customers become more efficient, which leads to more profit, while maintaining the value of their vertically stored products, resulting in tangible environmental benefits. Marvin is also a current board member of the International Silo Association, where he served for 2 years as president of the Association. Marvin strives to keep a balance of Faith, Family, and business. He is a loving husband and a dedicated father to six children.