Q&A with MFA director Dwayne Schad
Learn more about your cooperative leaders
This is a continuing series of interviews with MFA Incorporated’s board of directors to help members get to better know their cooperative’s leadership. This edition features Dwayne Schad, District 8 director. He and his wife, Amy, raise cattle, corn, soybeans wheat and hay on about 750 acres just east of Versailles, Mo.
When you look at MFA’s values statement, which one means the most to you and why?
Schad: Being involved in a co-op, I believe each one of our core values is just as important as the other. But if I had to pick, I believe “Honesty and Integrity” would mean the most. If you cannot be honest and have integrity in what you do, not much else matters. Being fair and honest with everyone you deal with will go a long way in keeping the customer happy and coming back. Following through on a promise and delivering service promptly to the best of our ability are very important to all involved.
October is Co-op Month, and you’ve been a longtime member of MFA. What does that mean to you and why do you feel it’s important to be involved?
Schad: My parents used to say I cut my teeth on the steering wheel of a tractor. Likewise, I started doing business with MFA at a fairly young age while I was still in school, and I am still with MFA today. As a co-op, the only way that we can be profitable is to first do everything possible to make sure our members are profitable. They will only do more business with us if they are sustainable. I have always been passionate about helping others—as most farmers are—and the base of a co-op is to help each other provide more purchasing power and have stronger marketability. As for my involvement, President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in which he is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.” Just as MFA has brought value, service and technology to me over the years, I would like to give a portion of my time, experience and common sense to the company that has been most involved with me.
Drought has been among the biggest challenges this growing season, and it’s not the only challenge that MFA and its members face. How does MFA help farmers navigate such adversities?
Schad: There will always be challenges in agriculture. Drought affects more than crops, grass and livestock. Extreme drought affects river levels and, in turn, availability of crop inputs and transportation of products to markets. MFA has the network of facilities and provides the best agronomic data and technology to help farmers minimize losses and achieve the greatest return. For livestock producers, MFA also provides all the equipment, vaccines and tools needed to meet the needs of their animals and operation and help manage what Mother Nature gives us.
You were on hand for the Farm Bill Listening Session at the State Fair. What is something you’d like to see in the 2023 version of that legislation and why?
Schad: In a year like this, it goes without saying that crop insurance is a No. 1 priority. It helps both crop producers and the livestock industry by minimizing risk of growing crops and providing economical feed sources. However, something beneficial to include in the Farm Bill would be increased funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development. Expanding these programs would provide additional opportunities for row-crop and livestock farmers to build their customer base and market their products abroad. Strong trade is important to the continued success and growth of American agriculture.
What have you learned about MFA as a member of the board of directors that you might not have learned without the closer involvement?
Schad: MFA is a very important part of Missouri agriculture and adjoining states. I have learned more about our joint ventures and the value they bring to this company. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes decisions that must be taken into account to provide the maximum service possible for our customers and members. Many years ago, I had to memorize and recite the FFA Creed. It states “I believe in the future of agriculture with a faith born not of words but of deeds.” So does MFA. I have witnessed our leadership team and employees all working toward that goal.
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