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Earning your trust

Written by Bill Streeter on .

District meetings provide a snapshot of the current fiscal year

MFA’s district meetings are an important part of the communication process. During those meetings, delegates elect nominees for the corporate board, and senior management presents a snapshot of the current fiscal year numbers while summarizing crop movement and business activity for the first five months of the fiscal year.

MFA’s fiscal year runs Sept. 1 through Aug. 31. Five individual meetings were held the last week of February. MFA has 14 districts, and the meetings encompassed all of those districts. Elections for corporate board members were held in five of the 14 districts.

Barry Kagay of Amity, Mo., was re-elected for District 1; Carlton Spencer of Faucett, Mo., was re-elected for District 4; Don Schlesselman of Concordia, Mo., was elected for District 5; David Callis of Sedalia, Mo., was re-elected for District 8; and Wayne Nichols of Pamona, Mo., was re-elected for District 13.

Please join me in congratulating these individuals and in welcoming new corporate board member Don Schlesselman, who runs a row crop and beef operation in central Missouri. MFA’s management relies heavily on these individuals. Directors play an active role in MFA’s direction. The membership elects those individuals. 

Over the course of MFA’s 100 years, literally hundreds of farmers and ranchers have served your interests through their expertise and insights.

MFA’s corporate board members are strong businessmen with operations requiring constant hands-on management. That they are willing and able to participate in MFA’s governance is testament to their interest and leadership qualities.

At MFA, we have an active, involved corporate board. We call upon their expertise, management ability and business competence. Please join me in thanking these individuals for their participation. I can assure you they do not serve for the money, because MFA’s corporate board members receive no salary. They do receive a small retainer, a per diem, expense reimbursement and mileage.

The job requires them to be away from their own operations to focus on MFA activities. They serve to keep their cooperative in the forefront of modern agriculture, serving the farm families in MFA’s trade territory. It takes a measure of devotion to serve.

These individuals receive training, both the new members and the experienced members. No matter how experienced a new board member might be, it takes at least two years to begin a full appreciation of the extent of MFA’s activities across the differing geographies of MFA’s trade territory.

At the district meetings, MFA’s senior management focused on the first five months of the fiscal year: Sept. 1 to Jan. 31. So far, profitability is behind plan, due in large part to weather. The grain harvest progressed at a slow pace this year. 

The late harvest reduced the window of opportunity for plant foods and crop protection movement this past fall. Much of the grain produced remains in farmer bins. Producers have been reluctant to sell at current prices. Plant foods movement this past fall was the lowest movement in the past three years. We do, however, expect a strong spring to bring us back in line with our projected numbers. 

MFA’s balance sheet continues to reflect significant growth and strength. Our working capital (current assets minus current liabilities) stands at $98 million, well within plan. Working capital has experienced amazing growth from 2010, after the great recession. Working capital provides us the cushion we need in the market in which we operate.

A strong balance sheet is a must in today’s operating environment. It allows us to take advantage of opportunities when those opportunities present themselves.

We have also spent more than $2 million in demolishing old elevators and cleaning up unsightly locations. We want to be a good corporate citizen. We want to keep our image bright. And we have to have a safe environment.

As a company, we continue to focus on three key pieces: strategic planning, financial performance and employee development. A company of our size should be at $20 million in profitability each year. It is a goal of mine that can and should be reached.

As a company, MFA is fortunate to enjoy the trust of our members and customers. As proof of that, we have $91 million in pre-pay with another $9 million of pre-pay coming from our local affiliates. We have another $66 million in our bond program. That kind of financial commitment tells me MFA is a trusted organization. We will make certain we maintain that trust and continue to serve you: our customers and owners. 

Bill Streeter is the MFA Incorporated's President and CEO. Send comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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