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Bus stop, MFA's mangager Buyer's Market

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Rolling exhibit features phosphate education geared toward consumers

A couple times per year MFA managers gather in Columbia, Mo., to meet with agricultural product vendors. It’s a chance for the vendors to do a lot of business in one place, and it’s a chance for MFA managers to exert their collective buying power to bring the best prices they can to your retail store. This year at the Buyer’s Market, there was a unique visitor—The Mosaic Express. The Mosaic Express is a 42-foot rolling exhibit that shows the importance phosphate plays in not just agriculture, but in nutrition, manufacturing and the economy.

The motor-coach exhibit was designed and built with the intent to help educate people in Florida, home to some 70 percent of the nation’s phosphate rock supply. Jim Johnson, Mosaic Public Affairs Coordinator (and the guy who drives the bus) said that as the world’s top producer and marketer of phosphate and potash, Mosaic recognizes the need to inform the public about the necessity of the minerals for everyday living. Johnson said that while the exhibit was designed to travel in mining regions of Florida, its popularity has brought it to a wider audience.

“It’s designed and built to be accessible at a sixth-grade level,” Johnson said. “We’ve had 29,000 people through the exhibit in the first year and a half.”

And while you might think a rolling museum about basic minerals wouldn’t be that compelling, the custom, interactive exhibits engage visitors. Telling someone how phosphate affects their life might take a little background information, but Johnson said there is a way to know when you’ve done a good job.

“The word I hear most when people are leaving is ‘awesome’ from the kids. The adults just say, ‘I had no idea.’”

For more information visit http://www.microessentials.com/ .

October is Cooperative Month

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Did you know ...?

•    Almost 30 percent of farmers’ products in the U.S. are marketed through cooperatives.
•    The majority of our country’s 2 million farmers are members of the nearly 3,000 farmer-owned cooperatives. They provide over 250 thousand jobs and annual wages of over $8 billion.
•    More than 20 cooperatives have annual sales in excess of $1 billion.
•    The Farm Credit System has 500,000 borrowers with a loan volume of $53.9 billion.
•    Rural electric cooperatives operate more than half of the electric distribution lines in the United States and provide electricity for 25 million people.
•    More than 50 million Americans are served by insurance companies owned by or closely affiliated with cooperatives.
•    Retailer-owned food and hardware cooperatives make it possible for hundreds of independent store owners to successfully compete with large chains.
•    Credit unions have more than 70 million members and assets in excess of $300 billion.

New fence at Rock Hill

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Cemetery at Rush Hill, Mo. is final resting place of MFA founder.

Rock Hill Cemetery near Rush Hill, Mo., is MFA organizer William Hirth’s final resting place. The remote cemetery is as peaceful as ever, but a little brighter thanks to a nearby farmer. With support from the MFA Charitable Foundation, local farmer Harry Riechers led an effort to replace an old woven-wire fence with a white three-rail ranch fence. The project was finished in late summer.

Hirth, who spent his youth near the cemetery, was a great leader of the cooperative movement in the Midwest. In 1908, Hirth started the Missouri Farmer and Breeder Magazine (which evolved over the years to become Today’s Farmer). Hirth saw the difficult times farms were going through in the early 20th Century and figured cooperative action the best way to bring farmers into the mainstream of “modern” life. He used his publication’s editorial platform to call for the formation of farm clubs. Eventually, he became the clearinghouse for farm clubs that were springing up around Missouri, collecting group orders and submitting them en masse to manufacturers for tremendous discounts. Those cooperative efforts were the beginnings of MFA. Until his death on Oct. 24, 1940, Hirth had been elected president of MFA every year from 1928, resigning only 18 months to run unsuccessfully for the Missouri governorship. The epitaph tomb stone reads, “He loved agriculture and all things beautiful.”

Reserve Grand Champion MO State Fair steer fed MFA

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Evan Kempker, 21, of Jefferson City, Mo., won Reserve Grand Champion Steer at the 2011 Missouri State Fair. His steer weighed 1,295 pounds. Evan is the son of Dan and Diane Kempker and a member of the Eugene FFA Chapter.

Kempker sold the steer for $17,250 to MFA Incorporated along with Youth in Agriculture and hometown supporters. Kempker purchased feed from the Lohman MFA Agri Services.

Other winners who fed MFA feed included Claire Silvers of Eldorado Springs, Mo., who won overall Reserve Champion in the steer carcass contest. Silvers purchased MFA Feed from Golden City Produce Exchange. Austin Lasher of Hamilton, Mo., took grand champion honors in the lamb carcass contest. Lasher purchased feed from MFA Hamilton.

Missouri Farmers give away free groceries

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Sharon Payne of Halfway, Mo., is selected as the third and final winner in a summer campaign to increase awareness of Missouri agriculture
 
The Missouri Farmers Care coalition awarded Sharon Payne of Halfway, Mo., $500 worth of free groceries on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at the MFA Bolivar Farmers Exchange in Bolivar, Mo. Payne was randomly selected as the third and final winner in an educational campaign with the St. Louis Cardinals to help make a connection between consumers and the farmers who feed them.
 
"This gift will go a long way for a family of two, so I was very excited to win this--especially in this tight economy," Payne said. "The state of the economy the last couple of years has really affected my husband's work."
 
Payne works as a bookkeeper for Independent Printing in Springfield, and her husband Michael is a self-employed floor covering installer.  The Payne family said they appreciate Missouri farmers reaching out to Missouri communities.
 
"I think some people forget that their food doesn't just come from a grocery store," Payne said. "Farmers work very hard and are the backbone of America."
 
Coordinated by Missouri's major agricultural groups and agribusiness organizations, the Missouri Farmers Care Grocery Giveaway began June 1 as part of a comprehensive outreach effort through the St. Louis Cardinals. Through the grocery giveaway promotion, MFC selected contest winners in June, July and August. Missouri consumers signed up for their chance to win at www.MoFarmersCare.com by watching videos featuring Missouri farmers and completing an online entry form.
 
Other elements of the Safe at the Plate summer education campaign with the St. Louis Cardinals include radio ads featuring Missouri farm families, videos of Cardinals mascot Fred Bird visiting four Missouri farms, an AgriMissouri™ gift basket giveaway at every Friday night home game, print advertising and promotional materials.
 
Sponsoring groups of the Safe at the Plate campaign and the Missouri Farmers Care Grocery Giveaway include the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Missouri Pork Association, Missouri Beef Industry Council, Midwest Dairy Association, MFA Oil, FCS Financial, Missouri Farm Bureau, MFA Incorporated and the St. Louis AgriBusiness Club.
 
 
Additional information regarding Missouri Farmers Care and Missouri agriculture can be found at www.MoFarmersCare.com.  

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