Poised and ready for success

MFA’s six district meetings were a success. We had outstanding attendance. During these meetings, MFA’s management was able to report all operation divisions within the company are equal to or ahead of last year. That’s across the board.

From plant foods to crop protection to seed, livestock and farm supply, your cooperative has posted very good numbers that show the strength of the cooperative and the support of the membership.

In fact, we’ve already sold more seed beans and seed corn than we sold in total last year.
By fiscal year end at the end of August, we should have total sales figures of close to $1.2 billion. That total doesn’t reflect sales that go through our joint ventures. Add in the $100 million that goes through Central Missouri AgriService, the $100 million that goes through AgriServices of Brunswick and the $40 million that goes through Cache River Valley Seeds and our net sales should be closer to $1.5 billion.

Net worth stands at $102 million. Based on current projections, we should end this year at $110 million of net worth. In the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2007, the net worth of our company stood at a little over $120 million.
Then the roller coaster effect kicked in. MFA made $40-plus million, followed by a loss $60 million to take net worth down to $85 million.

By the end of this fiscal year, net worth should be $110 million. Our business plan for next fiscal year is to return to or exceed $120 million—back to more traditional levels prior to the high and low.

The management of your cooperative set aggressive fiscal targets 18 months ago and identified specific benchmarks we needed to achieve along with a timetable for those achievements. Currently, we are 12 to 18 months ahead of that schedule, and we continue to move forward.

So as you can see we’re months ahead of plan and well-positioned. Our sales territory enjoyed a good, open fall. As a result, we don’t have ruts to work in and we’re ready to start applying fertilizer and pesticides.

Good grain yields, although slightly less than the previous year, were followed by good prices that have extended into the livestock and dairy markets.

Still, for all of us in agriculture, there’s a lot of risk and volatility in the market. You’re all aware of what’s happening in the Mideast and North Africa. That situation has the potential to affect the whole U.S. economy.

MFA’s management team keeps a close eye on inventory. High prices in petroleum, a big component of plant foods, pesticides and equipment costs, means we need to continue exercising prudent judgment.

We have product in place to take care of your needs this spring. But those inventories, by plan, aren’t too large.
Although MFA has a large plant-food inventory at our retail locations, there is a limit of how much we will own. So I encourage you to meet with your retail location manager and make sure you have the product you need when you need it.

The bottom line is that we have and are following a very aggressive strategic plan. We’re far ahead of that plan, and we’re setting our fiscal goals even higher.

Dwight Eisenhower once said that the plans are nothing, but planning is everything. So when parts of our plan hit changing conditions, we have no hesitation in backing up and finding new routes.

If we have the kind of year I think we will have and if we follow it up with another good year, this company is poised for selective growth and selective expansion.

As many of us said during these meetings, we want to thank you for your support and your business.
MFA has the benefit of strong customer support. We always have, particularly today. When you look at the amount of prepay you all entrusted to us in a year ago, it was more than $69 million.

We did not include that in our fiscal planning this year, thinking it was a one-time record.
This year, that number was $73 million. That’s confidence in this company. And that amount is in addition to the $50 million farmers spent with us on plant foods this fall.

On an apples-to-apples basis, that’s $120 million versus $69 million the previous fiscal year. For that, I thank you.
It is my privilege to work for this fine organization.
Bill Streeter is President and CEO of MFA Incorporated.

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