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MFA Incorporated, MFA Oil Pledge $750,000 to Support Agriculture Research and Education at MU

Gift will establish endowed MFA Professorship in Agribusiness

May 14th, 2015

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

By Diamond Dixon

COLUMBIA, Mo. – MFA Incorporated and MFA Oil have pledged $750,000 to the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR). The gift will establish the endowed MFA Professorship in Agribusiness which will support agriculture education and research at MU.

“We are proud of our partnership with the university and CAFNR,” said Ernie Verslues, president and CEO of MFA Incorporated. “Some areas of this company have contact with the university at least every week and we look forward to continuing a long-lasting relationship.”

The MFA entities have pledged $750,000 over four years to establish the professorship. In addition to helping CAFNR recruit and retain a nationally respected faculty member, the MFA Professorship will support valuable research used by farmers and businesses to improve agricultural production. If potential future gifts from the MFA entities reach $1.1 million, the professorship will be converted to an endowed chair. The search for the faculty member to fill the professorship will begin soon, with the professorship to be filled within two or three years. Internal and external candidates will be considered for the position.

“CAFNR is the logical recipient of this gift because of its national reputation as a leader in agribusiness,” said Mark Fenner, president and CEO of MFA Oil and president of the MFA Foundation. “A lot of schools have some agriculture classes but they are not nearly as comprehensive as what you find at Mizzou.”

Executives from MFA Oil and MFA Incorporated say the gift is a public demonstration of their appreciation for CAFNR and a formal celebration of their historic relationships with the college through mutual missions – service to the farmers and citizens of rural Missouri.

“CAFNR is grateful to receive this outstanding and important gift in support of the teaching and research that distinguish our college as a national leader in agribusiness,” said Thomas Payne, vice chancellor and dean of CAFNR. “I thank MFA Incorporated, MFA Oil and the MFA Foundation for their enduring partnership with Mizzou and CAFNR and for their remarkable contributions to our state for more than a century. CAFNR is honored to have this great partnership.”

MFA Incorporated and MFA Oil enjoy a 100-year relationship with Mizzou that has helped each institution prosper. Established in 1914, MFA Incorporated is the nation’s oldest and one of the largest farm-supply cooperatives, serving more than 45,000 farmers and ranchers. MFA Oil, established 85 years ago, offers bulk delivery of fuel, lubricants and propane to more than 40,000 customer to farm owners.

In addition, the MFA Foundation supports scholarships, infrastructure, hospitals, children’s playgrounds and other community needs throughout communities in rural Missouri. The foundation awards 325 scholarships to top Missouri high school students each year and 60 of the $2,000 scholarships are annually awarded to entering freshmen at Mizzou.