MFA pledges $750,000 to support ag research, education

Gift will establish endowed MFA professorship in agribusiness at University of Missouri.

MFA Inc. and MFA Oil have pledged $750,000 to the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources (CAFNR) to establish the endowed MFA professorship in agribusiness, which will support agriculture education and research at the university.

"We are proud of our partnership with the university and CAFNR," MFA Inc. president and chief executive officer Ernie Verslues said. "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 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 university announced. 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.

Executives from MFA Oil and MFA Inc. said 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 CAFNR dean.

MFA Inc. and MFA Oil enjoy a 100-year relationship with the University of Missouri. Established in 1914, MFA Inc. 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.

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