Please accept my invitation to the MFA annual meeting Dec. 1, 2015, at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia, Mo. Registration and the MFA showcase open at 8 a.m. Don Mills, chairman of MFA’s corporate board of directors, will call the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m.
In the October issue, written before the books closed, I reported MFA’s pretax profit to be “in the neighborhood of $12 million.” The final number, unaudited, is $12.4 million pretax. You will hear a detailed list of MFA’s financial benchmarks at the annual meeting.
The corporate board approved paying patronage. Half of the earnings on member business will be paid in cash and half in equity. In addition, half of the remaining 1980 equities will also be retired.
All in all, this past fiscal year was positive despite the erratic weather patterns that delayed planting and made spring field work difficult across a wide swath of MFA’s trade territory. MFA’s diverse structure and territory helped offset product and service declines in view of the wet spring. The livestock side of the business enjoyed an exceptional year.
Again, more complete financial metrics will be covered at the MFA annual meeting. The centralized annual meeting is the format of preference for our corporate board. It provides a time and place to discuss the direction of your cooperative and issues fundamental to success in today’s agriculture.
The annual meeting, district meetings in the spring and store events at the local level offer excellent opportunities for members and customers to drill down into the operating philosophy of MFA Incorporated. That’s an important part of the cooperative’s relationship with its owners.
MFA’s philosophy is readily apparent in our corporate strategies. One is to manage “the company in a businesslike manner that will enable the company to meet market dynamics and opportunities, withstand the economic cycles of agriculture, maintain profitability and best serve the interests of the farmer-owner.”
That philosophy is further expressed in a company-wide focus on financial success. It is evident as well in efforts to enhance MFA’s image and build on the success of our 100-year history. There’s a reason for that longevity. MFA exists to provide economic benefit to its farmer-owners and customers.
MFA, over the course of those 100 years, has made significant contributions to the well-being of farmers and ranchers and their communities as well as the welfare and advancement of agriculture.
All of us in agriculture have seen the impact of so many in the nation’s population being several generations removed from the farm. That population can be and has been susceptible to being manipulated by today’s anti-agriculture extremists.
That’s why this year’s annual meeting will again focus on providing you with tools to speak up for agriculture. The featured speaker will be Michele Payn-Knoper, a Midwestern farm girl who has made a career out of speaking up for agriculture and presenting ways to best advance the conversation.
The meeting will also bring together representatives of the state’s commodity associations as well as Farm Bureau under the umbrella of Missouri Farmers Care. Missouri Farmers Care is a joint effort by Missouri’s farming and agricultural community to stand together for the men and women who provide a national food system second to none.
The organization’s mission is to promote the continued growth of Missouri agriculture and rural communities through coordinated communication, education and advocacy. MFA Incorporated is one of the founding members.
In addition, you will have an opportunity to visit with representatives of Common Ground, a creation of the United Soybean Board and National Corn Growers Association. Common Ground is active in Missouri, Kansas and Iowa as well as many other states.
Common Ground is a group of farmers and ranchers having conversations about the food they grow and how they produce it. The group does an outstanding job of presenting personal experiences, as well as science and research, to help consumers sort through the myths and misinformation surrounding food and farming.
As you can see, more than simply focusing on MFA’s financial snapshot, the MFA annual meeting also offers a view inside of the state and national efforts to tell agriculture’s story to the public. Please join us in standing up for agriculture.