MFA traces its beginnings to a one-room schoolhouse near Brunswick, Mo. In Newcomer School on March 10, 1914, seven farmers met to discuss an article by William Hirth. Hirth owned a magazine called the Missouri Farmer and Breeder. In his magazine, Hirth called for formation of farm clubs. Seven Brunswick-area farmers (Aaron Bachtel, Tom Penick, Will Heisel, George Heisel, Earl Smutz, John Kohl and Will Armstrong) met to discuss Hirth's article and soon placed the first cooperative order for 1,150 pounds of baler twine.
By banding together for economic strength, members of the Newcomers Schoolhouse Farm Club saved $400 in several group transactions. Hirth handled the orders free of charge. Word spread like wildfire.
From that meeting emerged a cooperative that grew to become the largest business enterprise in the state. By the 1920s, MFA represented 400 local cooperatives. William Hirth was MFA's first president, serving until his death in 1940.
Throughout the 20th Century, MFA led agriculture in establishing businesses, organizations and other cooperatives that had one purpose first and foremost-serving farmers.
It's a tradition we uphold. And one we'll continue. MFA Incorporated combines the principles of an established cooperative with the market savvy of an aggressive agribusiness. We're designed to provide farmers with economic strength.
MFA's member magazine, Today's Farmer, has collected a series of historical articles about MFA Incorporated here. Also, editor and writer Chuck Lay recently published a book about the history of MFA, Proud Past, Bright Future. Learn more about the book here.