I lost a small battle in a big war

Written by Blake Hurst on .

A foxhole view in the debate between organic and conventional agriculture

This spring I was in a debate in New York City.  The topic of the debate was: "Is Organic Food Marketing Hype." I was arguing the affirmative. That's the way we debaters talk. 
The venue was about two blocks off Broadway. Yes, I've been booed off-Broadway. My debating career closed after opening night. I knew I was in trouble before the debate started, when they led me from the "green room" (that's the way we TV personalities talk) to makeup. I've never worn makeup before. They spray it on with a little applicator. I refused to wipe it off after the debate-I wanted the experience to last as long as it could. Anyway, the two makeup women proceeded to tell me why they purchased organic food. According to my makeup sprayer, it just made her body feel better. One of my opponents, Charles Benbrook, who works for something called the Organic Center,  was in the neighboring chair during this conversation. He seemed pleased. The evening went downhill from there.


Written by Kody Raines on .

Delivering value to members and communities

Editor's note: Raines won the 2010 Missouri Institute of Cooperatives FFA speaking contest. Here we print the speech he delivered for the contest, and as winner, to the institute's member banquet. Raines is the son of Wanda Spence Rains and Kevin Raines. He is a member of the Troy, Mo., FFA chapter.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." Winston Churchill's message behind this quote is that a person's actions define their legacy. For 12 years, the majority of my actions were devoted to preparing my legacy as a star soccer player. My attention changed, however, in July 2009, when I suffered a severe knee injury that kept me out of the season and severely hurt my chances of playing college soccer. I turned my attention to FFA and preparing my future as a leader in agriculture. Because of this new ambition, I seized the opportunity to participate in the Missouri Institute of Cooperatives public speaking contest and fuse my past experiences with an explanation of how cooperatives deliver value to members and communities.

Picture this: a soccer coach is holding a tryout in attempts of creating the perfect team. During the tryout, the coach analyzes each player individually to see who possesses the necessary skills needed to achieve success. At the end of the day, the coach selects who he wants to be a part of his team. Those who did not make the team question, "Why was I cut?" The coach explains that they do not possess the qualities he desired. Having players with different backgrounds, abilities and roles create diversity among the team. This variety allows the team to have multiple ideas about how to function and gives each player their own unique contribution to success. The combination of diverse qualities on the soccer field leads to success just as they do in a cooperative. Both start with an idea or goal and then the members take action. Members of cooperatives then use their unique traits and the seven principles of a cooperative to create success for their members and communities.

For a cooperative to be successful it needs support from the community and the members it serves. Without these members and their financial contribution, a cooperative cannot get started, let alone be a thriving organization. The first principle of cooperatives states that membership is voluntary. If people are not eager to cooperate as clients or members, a cooperative has nothing. In addition, cooperatives are democratic organizations led by members. Members are a necessity in this case, because no members equal no control. Also cooperative companies are non-profit as stated in the third principle. Without member investments and payments from clients, a cooperative couldn't pay for the necessary resources it needs to function.

As a member of a cooperative, a member can receive multiple benefits. In a cooperative, members collect a rebate depending on how much of a contribution they have put forth. This rebate is known as a patronage dividend. In relation to soccer, this dividend is like being rewarded for working hard at practice by getting more playing time in the game. Along with this, another appealing bonus for members is that although the cooperative is nonprofit, it is possible for the members to gain income. By investing in a cooperative, the opportunity to gain a return with little risk presents itself. This risk-averse situation is because once one invests in a cooperative, even if it was to go bankrupt, the members would not lose more than their initial investment.

A cooperative is a member-owned association, which allows them the authority to make decisions. A soccer team does not even present their players with this benefit. Can you imagine what it would be like if the players could control decisions made on the field? In soccer, that would be chaos.
However, in a democratic system such as a cooperative, it grants equal voting opportunity to each member. This ensures their opinion can be stated.

It is now evident how cooperatives and their members can benefit through cooperatives, but how can the community benefit? The answer is simple; insurance provided by the Farmer's Union, the marketing of livestock feed and crop seed by the MFA, and much more. Everyone benefits from the vast number of services cooperatives perform. My local Cuivre River Electric Cooperative is a prime example. This cooperative provides electricity to numerous local residents, and not only do they provide the electricity, they also maintain, replace, and tend to electric service issues that may occur. Members in the community own cooperatives. This allows residents who have seen problems first hand to express their opinions in order to resolve conflicts that may arise. Finally, cooperatives strive to inform the public of their nature and benefits. Picture a soccer game scheduled for tomorrow, but no coaches, players, referees or spectators were informed. This would obviously result in an empty field. This is similar for cooperatives. Without promotion of their services, membership capabilities, and scheduled meetings it would be impossible for a cooperative to exist. Thus, the public can be confident that a cooperative will have frequent updates informing them about important items that they may be concerned with.

Cooperatives grant many benefits that they, their members and the community can all enjoy. If a cooperative were a soccer team it would be an undefeated team. Its offense toward getting tasks done is stacked with its democratic control, independence, open membership and cooperation among cooperatives. At the same time its member and community defense is solid due to its consumer education, concern for the community, non-profit nature and limited liability for members. When you put all of this together, you can obviously see cooperatives have quite an arsenal when it comes to pleasing individual members and communities. As long as cooperatives continue moving forward to deliver value to members and the community, I believe they will shutout all who oppose their purpose and score a goal for those who believe in the full potential a cooperative can bring to a community.

Estate doc

Written by James Fashing on .

A few words about the importance of estate planning

Here are two short clips from an interview with Dr. Cynthia Crawford, family financial education specialist for Saline County and the Central Missouri Region for the Extension Service. Dr. Crawford also talks about her personal experience with inheriting an estate from her mother. Interview by James Fashing/Today's Farmer magazine.



 You can begin with baby steps. "First you set goals," said Cynthia Crawford, family financial education specialist for Saline County and the Central Missouri Region for the Extension Service. "If families aren't clear about what they want, you can't honor their goals."

Crawford, who works from Marshall, Mo., suggests you start by filling out a few forms. In Missouri and many other states, you can make bank accounts and other investments such as stocks and bonds payable upon death to your spouse or another beneficiary. For assets with titles, you can make the asset titled on death to the beneficiary of your choice. Crawford suggests you only include the spouses' names, not children's, so the surviving spouse maintains control of the asset.

Read related story about estate planning here.





He's met them all

Written by Steve Fairchild on .

Long-time farmer Truman Cooley has met every MFA president

Truman Cooley is a name most farmers in Audrain County know. He spent a lifetime of row-crop and livestock farming just northeast of Centralia, Mo. During that time, he's been a strong supporter of agriculture and good friend of MFA Incorporated. In fact, through his family's dedication to the cooperative, Cooley has had a chance to meet every MFA president from the cooperative's founder William Hirth to our current President and CEO, Bill Streeter.

Cooley was born in 1916 in Iowa. His family moved to the Centralia area in December of the same year, when Cooley was two months old.

While MFA founder William Hirth's efforts to organize farmers into local farm clubs had taken solid root by then, it was in 1916 that Hirth concentrated his efforts to form a state-wide association of farmers that became MFA.
Cooley's father, S.T., was an admirer of Hirth and joined the local farm club. That's where Cooley remembers first seeing Hirth.

"The elevator had already been built here in Centralia," said Cooley. "I remember that Mr. Hirth came to Skull Lick School just east of here. Of course, they had called on all the neighbors to let us know Mr. Hirth was the guest speaker.

"He was a medium-built fellow, I can recall. He had really heavy black eyebrows and a brave strong voice. He didn't need a PA system.

The second time I met him, I went with my father to Mr. Hirth's farm over on what is now West Boulevard in Columbia. He had a large farm-I'd say the house and barn set off the road a quarter mile. Mr. Hirth had bought a pair of mules and he had to show them to us. I was just a small lad. I was more interested in the mules than the conversation."

2010 MFA Foundation Scholarship Program

on .

Established in 1958, the Foundation is a nonprofit, philanthropic organiza- tion. Its primary purpose is to provide educational opportunities to high school seniors in the MFA trade territory. Since 1965, the Foundation's foremost mission has been providing MFA Foundation scholarships, which have provided financial assistance to more than 10,000 students totaling more than $10 million.

One scholarship is offered annually at each high school where a participating MFA Agri Services Center, MFA Oil Company propane plant, MFA Oil Company bulk plant or other MFA agency is located.
Local committees select the scholarship winners, who are announced at gradu- ation ceremonies. The majority of the scholarships are $2,000 and may be used at any college or university.

Overall, this year some 337 high school seniors received scholarships co-sponsored by the MFA Foundation and local MFA locations. These scholarships were worth more than $600,000.

And the winners are;
John Jacob Akridge, Columbia
Clayton Shelby Allen, Chillicothe
Jace Daniel Allen Corydon, IA
Laura SusAnn Almond, Brookfield
Anthony Charles Ambrosia, Greentop
Megan Rachelle Anderson, Centertown
Shelby Mae, Armstrong, Welch, OK
Tyler Morris Armstrong, Malta Bend
Kelsey Nicole Arnold, Kahoka
James Thomas Asher, Greenfield
Brian Allen Austin, Butler
Corey Wayne Baker, Hale
Hannah Ruth Bartholomew Archie
Donovan James Bartkoski, Purdy
Caleb James Bartley, Fulton
Daniel Leo Bauman, Saint Mary
Shelby Elizabeth Beck, Marked Tree, AR
Elizabeth McDowell Beetem, Jefferson City
Crystal Janene Behring, Palmyra
BreeAnn Keyton Belding, Sharpsburg, IA
Justin Damon Bennett, Mount Vernon
Kayla Marie Bierbaum, Augusta
Cooper Clinton Black, Deepwater
Hannah Kaye Boulden, Fayette
Byshea Alyssa Bowers, Corning, AR
Jonathan Edward Bowman, Dexter
Carly Shea Boyd, Gallatin
Trevor Jordan Bracher, Montrose
Tyler Austin Breashears, Lonoke, AR
Carleen Saunders Brooks, Louisiana
Chelsea Nicole Brown, Sullivan
Michael Charles Brown, Skidmore
Katie Elizabeth Brucker, Chaffee
Shari Anne Brunner, Centralia
Haley Elizabeth Bryant, East Prairie
Lauren Kay Bryant, Norwood
Christopher Alan Buckner, Princeton
Mark Kenrick Buerck, Perryville
Benjamin Lee Buesing, Rich Hill
Dylan Ray Burd, Lebanon
Ryan Wade Burstert, New Cambria
Jamie Lynn Buschman, Lebanon
Caleb Jesse Bussard, Billings
Jonathan Hunter Bussey, Neosho
Alicia Danielle Button, Urbana
Kylen Mitchell Byrd, Keytesville
Harmony Halyce Cagle, Rector, AR
Matthew Kale Caldwell, Jonesburg
Carly Jo Calus, Mountain, Grove
Joshua David Capron, Columbia
Emily Ann Carey, New Haven
Alysia Elizabeth Carey, New Haven
Zachary Clinton Carter, Rector, AR
Shannon Rena Carver, Freeman
Shelby Lea Chadwick, Gallatin
Elizabeth Kathryn Chappell, Cabool
Stephanie Marie Chism, Sturgeon
Natalie Nicole Coffman, Browning
Taylor Dayne Coomer, Piggott, AR
Cody David Cornelius, Easton
Virginia Nicole Crawley, Buffalo
Leslie Morgan Creager, Olpe, KS
Tawsha Gail Creason, Rocky
Comfort Paige Noel Crumbaugh, Grubville
Christina Jean Currence,
Eldon Katrina Ellen Curry, Columbus, KS
Tyler Ray Daniels, Novinger
Aeriel Coryn Davis, Ava
Benjamin Foster Davis, Carthage
Blake Andrew Davis, Paragould, AR
Shelby Jane Davis, Palmyra
Wayne James Dierker, Lonedell
John Joseph Dillon, Boonville
Hillary Shea Doak, Milan
Kevin Robert Dodson, Bigelow
Hannah Aurora Doherty, Slater
Zach Lane Dunn, Everton
Darci Ann Dyer, Centerview
Nathan Charles Eagleburger, Buffalo
Cindy Margaret Ebbesmeyer, Warrenton
Kerry Jane Elbel, Holden
Daniel Keith Elliott, Pleasant Hill
Cole Ellis, Lineville, IA
Katrina Lynn Ellis, Silex
Turner Drew Ellison, Rock Port
Andrew Charles Engelhardt, Adrian
Bethany Ann Ericson, Fort Scott, KS
Meredith Louise Evans, Savannah
Sara Ann Ewigman, Brookfield
Mason Paul Fain, Holts Summit
Dewey Kurt Fennewald, Martinsburg
Heather Dawn Ferguson, Glasgow
Abby Laura Fitchpatrick, Wentworth
Tiffany Renea Fletcher, Mendon
Alexander Norman Fodge, Paris
Laura Ashley Fox, Triplett
Tyler Robert Francis, Black
Tabitha Nichole Francis-DeWalt, Bucklin
Kayla Janel Frederick, Greentop
Sara Elizabeth Frueh, Hopkins
Jonathan Bruce Fuller, Ash Grove
Meghan Marie Fuller, Burlington Jct.
T Dillon Galbraith, Steelville
Presley Galloway, Stewartsville
Melissa Gayle Galloway-Henderson, Paden, OK
Kori Lea Gammons, Newburg
Emily Marie Garrison, Bosworth
Kaitlin Dawn Gieseke, Houstonia
Janise Ann Gildehaus, Washington
Carter Scott Gillespie, New Hampton
Andrew Ryan Glen, Higbee
Brody Wayne Goode, Hazen, AR
Megan Marie Goodwin, Laddonia
Dennis Houston Gower, Oak Grove
Alisha Faith Gray, Macomb
Andrew Steven Greenley, Knox City
Devann Renee Gregory, Houstonia
Hayley Elizabeth Grimes, Savannah
Garrett Alan Gutshall, Adrian
Andrew Jensen Haase, Bates City
Cory Shawn Hager, Paragould, AR
Tracie Lynn, Hale, Sedalia
Ashley Nichole, Haley, Chelsea, OK
John Thomas, Haley
Braymer Abigail Laurel Hall, Elsberry
Ashley Nicole Hall, Lake City, AR
Elizabeth Nicole Hall, Sweet Springs
Keith Edward Halley, Dunnegan
Samantha Beth Halley, Atlanta
Kimberly Maetta Hamilton, Pleasant Hope
Rachel Nicole Hamilton, Windsor
Dylan Leslie Hamlin, Centerview
Katelyn Marie Hansen, Pierce City
Adam Lee Hardesty, Wyandotte, OK
Clay Myron Hawes, Sikeston
Nanah Devon Henderson, Cassville
Jordyn Laura Hickcox-Lobland, Richland
Brandon Hinck, Concordia
Haley Brooke Hines, Marshfield
Jenny LeighAnne Hobbs, Jamesport
Courtney Hoecker, St. Elizabeth
Evan Michael Hoeppner, Higginsville
Sara Ann Hoffman, Canton
Jared Scott Hogan, Jameson
Kendra Elizabeth Holcer, Meadville
Gabriel Robert Hollander, Owensville
Chelsea Therese Howe, Gilman City
Dillon Thomas Howe, Elmer
Shelbey Maria Hubley, Holland
Parker Joe Huddleston, Lebanon
Andrew Hoyt Hughes, Cuba
Michelle Lynn Hustead, Marceline
Kelly Rena Jahn, Jackson
Aytchie Edward Jansen, Salem
Darcy Annise Jenkins, Tina
Michael John Jensen, Stanberry
Cody David Joesting, Rock Port
Dana Johnson, Novelty
Nathaniel Johnson, Bois D'Arc
Rodney Tyler Johnson, Eldridge
Sheana Marie Johnson, Ridgeway
Delaney Mae Jones, Stroud, OK
Holly Marie Jones, Harrisonville
Jalen Rob Jones, Seymour, IA
Jessica Jean Jones, Pittsburg, KS
Megan Nicole Jones, Stroud, OK
William Isaac Jumper, Paragould, AR
Amanda Danielle Keilholz, Chamois
Logan Chance Kennedy, Neosho
Cody Dylan Kern, Benton
Eva JeanMarie Kimbrough, Birch Tree
Dennis Wayne Kinkead, Jr., Farmington
Afton Paige Kinman, Maryville
Abby Maye Kircher, New Franklin
Jeffrey Allen Knipmeyer, Alma
Leah Marie Koechner, Tipton
Kayla Koenemann, Walnut Grove
Tara Naomi Korff, Harrisburg
Cody Allan Korthaus, Moulton, IA
Scott Larry Kriegshauser, Kirksville
Joshua Tyler Krueger, Robertsville
Bryant Edward Kurtz, Oregon
Keith Kutscher, Crocker
Emily Nicole Ladymon, Clarkton
Carrie Elizabeth LaFaver, Green City
Carly Nicole Lallemand, Walnut, KS
Travis Levi Lamb, Fredericktown
Lindsey Elizabeth Lambert, Pattonsburg
Daniel Allen Langley, Crane
Austin Lawrence, Lamar
Tristen Franklin Lawson, Keota, OK
Kenda Cilene Lee, Fort Scott, KS
Scott Alan Lee, Nevada
Weston Tyler Lemon, Willow Springs
Ryan David Lewis, Bell City
Darcy Jane Long, Shelbina
Andy Jared Luke, Stanberry
Arthur Lee Lutz II, Macks Creek
Whitney Shay Maharrey, Wynne, AR
Amber Ann Malin, Campbell
Daniel Ross Mallette, Unionville
Hayle Ann Marquart, Bland
Brenda Ann Martin, Galena
Cody Joseph Martin, Paragould, AR
Michael McBride, Birch Tree
Cortney Amanda McCann, Charleston
Jared Wayne McCauslin, Chillicothe
Caitlyn McFee, Maysville
Megan Ann McMillan, Glasgow
Ross Landon Means, Lamar
John Michael Mehrens, Lincoln
Joseph Michael Meiwes, Moran, KS
Sara Elizabeth Mickey, Sikeston
Alex James Miller, Dixon
Brennan Zachary Miller, Weaubleau
Brooklyn Dakota Miller, King City
Delanie Michelle Miller, Princeton
Charles Steven Moore, Harrisonville
Katrina Lynn Moore, Butler
Shelby Nicole Murdock, Nelson
Jessica Lynn Murphy, Glenwood
Kali Marie Myers, Oak Ridge
Nicholas Andrew Naeger, Ste Genevieve
Stephanie Marie Needham, Bolivar
Rebecca Aimee Nelson, Vandalia
Jeffrey George Niemeyer, Bowling Green
Tucker Lee Oliver, Macon
Katie LeeAnn Orear, Hume
Nolan Kendall Otto, Leonard
Kristen Ashley Owen, St James
Shay Donovan Parks, Versailles
Natasha Marie Parsons, Warrensburg
Ashley Nicole Payne, Polk
Emily Marie Perkins, Cole Camp
Kristen Nicole Petrus, Carlisle, AR
Addy Jocelynne Phillips, Clever
Brandon Michael Pierce, Madison
Sarah Elizabeth Prock, Wasola
Laura Alyese Queen, Rogersville
Kody Dylan Raines, Hawk Point
Bryce Lucas Rains, Spickard Nolan
Grant Rapp, Schell City
Zachery Dee Reagan, Lockwood
Shelby Lee Reazin, Altamont, KS
Haley Dawn Reed, Newtown
Megan Renee Reed, Niangua
Stephanie Renea Reid, Steele
Janae Cheryn Rennaker, Bourbon
Ross Dillon Richter, Steelville
Johnathan Walker Rickman, Malden
Aaron Ray Ritchhart, Jasper
Bryce Clayton Robertson, Liberal
Jennifer Marie Roby, Golden City
Karen Kay Rohlfing, Hermann
Brooke Ashton Rose, Canehill, AR
Gina Marie Rowden, Loose Creek
Danielle Nicole Russell, Sheldon
Lauren Elizabeth Saltz, Skiatook, OK
Zachary Daniel Sanders, Rayville
Eric Paul Schaffer, Clarksville
Michael Tyler Schieffer, Troy
Cory Schlueter, Carrollton
Daren Michael Schneider, Salisbury
Stephanie Lee Schreier, Lexington
Jacqueline Sue Schulte, Ravenwood
Sarah Kaylynn Schumann, Barnard
Stacy LeeAnn Schutte, Mexico
Clint Thomas Schwach, Warsaw
Emily Nicole Scott, Quincy
Tyler Garrett Sexton, West Plains
Merry Elizabeth Sharp, DeKalb
Ranay Lianna Sharpe, Shelbyville
Jeremy Ray Shaver, Grovespring
Alan-Michael Shearer, Qulin
Kyle Jacob Shelley, Memphis
Kelli Marie Shepard, Bethany
Thomas Lee Shepard, Fairfax
Daniel Scott Shilling, Joplin
David Michael Slater, Trenton
Alex Loren Smith, Willard
Ashlea Nicole Smith, Cushing, OK
Erin Brooke Snedden, Welch, OK
Marissa Kaye Snider, Marshfield
Lance Black Snodgrass, Polo
Creston Dean Snyder, Hamilton
Jessicargan Snyder, Newtown
Clayton Roger Sommer, Republic
Benjamin Gregory Spencer, Sheldon
Tyler Charles Sponsler, Humeston, IA
Ethan James Spratlin, Holly Grove, AR
Brittany Ann Stallcup, Bucyrus
Leslie Nicole Stark, Marshall
Jessica Louise Steinberg, Union
Katelynn Jean Stewart, El Dorado Springs
Lee Everette Stewart, Prague, OK
Michael Glenn Storie, Advance
LaGena DeAn Strobel, Oran
Seth Andrew Strope, Linn
Ethan Matthew Stump, Oronogo
Michael Louis Sullivan, Doniphan
Dustina Dawn Sutton, Licking
Alexis Dawn Sykes, Dawn
Aron Trey Taylor, Canton
Quaid Caleb Taylor, Ozark
Tara Ashley Temple, Nixa
Jordan Ross Thomas, Neelyville
Garret Wayne Thompson, Otterville
Ryley Stamps Thornton, Gravity, IA
T'Keyea Shemice Thornton, Sedalia
Nicholas Leon Thrasher, Bevier
Paige Jean Louise Toney, Davis City, IA
Tonya Lynn Troutwine, Grant City
Madison Marie Twenter, Boonville
Eric Allen Van Horn, Wellsville
Klancey Ann Vandeloecht, Fulton
Andrew Dylan Vanhooser, Dadeville
Sarah Mae Vaughn, Cabool
Jack Curtis Vincent, Lohman
Rebecca Lane Vote, Bolivar
Kyle Andrew Walker, Bolivar
Tyler Weston Weaver, Lancaster
Katie Lynn Wehmeyer, Rosebud
Raymond Thatcher Wehmeyer, Stover
Bridget Welker, Patton
Jeffrey Austin Willingham, Perry
Claire S. Wilson, Fordland
Cody Alexander Wilson, Vinita-Pensacola, OK
Paige Allyson Wilson, Creighton
Tiffany Lynn Wimer, Mount Ayr, IA
Spenser Leonard Witt, Freistatt
Emma Jo Witteveen, Norborne
Nathaniel Joseph Woehr, Linn
Erin Nicole Wolfrum, California
Reine Niquol Yamnitz, Saint Mary
Chelsey Renee Yardley, Crane
Josie Irene Yoakum, Rolla
Keshia Marie Youtsey, Weatherby


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