Innovation helps MFA navigate the road ahead

Written by Ernie Verslues on .

August brings with it the final days of MFA’s fiscal year. As of this writing, our final profit number is no more than an estimate. Like many others facing the current challenges in agriculture, our year will not generate our targeted profits. We anticipate improvements over last year but below fiscal 2015 levels.

August also brings with it our annual Kick-Off Meeting and a focus on the coming year, with fresh plans, new goals and ways to capitalize on the opportunities that are out there. Our theme for the new year, “Navigating the Road Ahead,” fits well with the uncertainty in agriculture.

When I say, “our theme,” I am really speaking to MFA’s responsibility to meet the needs and exceed the expectations of our member-owners. Our success is tied to your success. We must navigate this road together.
In most cases, advancements in the agricultural industry are being led by new technologies. MFA leads the way in finding innovative ways to put this technology to work for our customers.

On the livestock side of our business, we continue to stand behind and make improvements to the Health Track program. We are now able to combine our comprehensive preconditioning protocol with the ability to track genetic potential into a single program.

Speaking of programs—well, I suppose the correct term is “app”—MFA has developed a PowerCalf app designed to help our beef producers manage a robust amount of data that can be used to measure herd performance.

Shield Technology was developed by MFA staff almost two years ago. Since then we have added Shield Plus to the lineup. These products improve animal performance and do it without antibiotics.

On the agronomy side of our business, MFA’s real value comes in our services, led by our knowledge of your operation. We are committed to helping you become more efficient on each acre you farm. That comes in the form of collecting data, providing Nutri-Track and/or Crop-Trak services, and making seed, crop protection and fertility recommendations that fit your needs. Our goal is to help lower your cost per bushel to raise the crop.

Mother Nature still plays a role in grain production, but technological improvements have helped increase yields despite challenges with weather. In a few weeks, our rail facility in Hamilton, Mo., will be open for business. This facility will provide producers and other grain businesses with another market and the ability to get in and out quickly.

A final item I will touch on is crop insurance. MFA views the risk management tool as a natural fit. Who knows the customer better than us? In many cases, we are on your farm already, providing agronomic advice and, in some cases, credit. After a successful Year 1, we are expanding the offering in Year 2.

As you look back over the tools we will use in “Navigating the Road Ahead,” it is clear to me our success will be tied to innovative products and services developed by MFA. These products, along with our talented team, will provide both you and the company with opportunities for success.

There is no doubt technology will drive our industry for many years. Let’s not forget that technology provides opportunity, but it can also cause challenges. In early July, MFA made the decision to discontinue application of dicamba for the remainder of this growing season. This was not a statement against the technology, rather an internal decision based on the growth stage of most soybeans and the tension dicamba was creating in the country. It will be part of our offering next year.

Technology and innovation provide opportunities to make a positive impact for the producers we serve. With the use of technology comes responsibility—to our members, to the industry and to stewardship.

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