Don Copenhaver

MFA Incorporated— Inducted in 2014

 

Don Copenhaver served the farmers and ranchers of MFA’s trade territory for almost 50 years in various roles at MFA Incorporated. He began his career as an auditor in the accounting department in 1962 and worked his way up in the cooperative, eventually becoming president and CEO through talent, hard work, dedication and determination. 

 

Don led by example. He worked hard, planned effectively and got the details right. He earned a place in MFA history for his balance sheet management and for his leadership role in focusing the cooperative on fiscal fundamentals. He is a man of great personal integrity. He left his legacy in what is one of the oldest and most revered farmer-owned cooperatives in the country. 

 

By treating the cooperative’s resources as if they were his own, Don showed others how to be wise managers of farmers’ resources. The MFA mantra under Copenhaver’s watchful eye was that business growth should come by targeted objectives – with established business goals and very specific return criteria at the front and center of decision making. He helped MFA prosper and grow in a cost-effective manner. Adhering to basic cooperative principles, Don used strategic alliances to expand MFA’s influence in the rural community. Most importantly, he did so without compromising the organization’s fiscal responsibility to its owners. Under his leadership, MFA created multiple partnerships and business arrangements that have returned many times their investment.

 

As President and CEO of the Midwest regional supply cooperative with annual sales exceeding one billion dollars, Don complied an impressive array of statistics during his decade at the helm.  These figures reflect core competency and leadership – two defining characteristics of Don Copenhaver. During this time MFA plant food sales increased 50%; grain bushels nearly doubled; seed sales and crop protection sales also increased substantially. Over the course of Don’s stewardship, MFA returned more than $36.5 million to patrons.

 

Don’s impact in agriculture extends far beyond MFA. He gave generously of his talents and energies in various roles to promote Missouri agriculture. Don is a strong supporter of MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Through the MFA Foundation, Don guided financial support to many issues important to Missouri – and also provided scholarships to thousands of graduating high school seniors, investing in the next generation of cooperative leadership. In 2003, Don received the Honorary American FFA Degree and in 2008 was named an honorary member of MU’s Ag Alumni Association.  

 

A tireless and strong supporter of Missouri agriculture and cooperatives, Don is a valued partner, respected business leader, admired mentor and colleague.

 

exceptional steward of the members' assets; innovative partnerships; a talent for balance sheet management; strong supporter of reserach and outreach to benefit farmers; dedication and hard work on behalf of cooperatives for nearly 50 years