Don Mills

MFA Incorporated— Inducted in 2018

 

Don Mills first became involved with cooperatives 44 years ago in Arkansas as a farmer and member of Cave Springs Co-op, an MFA affiliate, where he served on the board. As area farmland converted to urban uses, the opportunity to farm diminished. His loss was the cooperative world's gain. Don was recruited to manage MFA's company-owned location in Rogers, Arkansas. Eventually, Don made his way to El Dorado Springs, Missouri to manage another MFA-affiliated local cooperative. This role brought the challenge of turning around an operation that was struggling financially. Don's understanding of cooperatives and business acumen helped the cooperative return to profitability.

 

Always a farmer at heart, in 2005 Don returned to the farm full-time. He remained a loyal patron of cooperatives. In this role, Don made his biggest impact. In 2006, Don was elected to the MFA Incorporated board of directors, and in 2010, he was elected board chair. Don assumed the role of chair at a difficult time for MFA. He quickly assessed the situation, understood the implications, and knew action was needed. He recognized results would follow. In few words, he asked tough, necessary questions. Don wanted management to earn his trust. He made clear management would have his support, "As long as you are doing right."

 

How a cooperative's decisions will affect the overall membership is always foremost in Don's mind. He is a forward thinker who is not afraid to take calculated risks that will help advance the cooperative and its members. Don has the leadership skills to allow the cooperative board to speak as a unified voice. He has the tenacity to accomplish bold, needed action. Don's experience at all levels of the cooperative and his strong values uniquely prepared him to help the cooperative grow stronger, even in difficult economic times.

 

Don believes in the power of cooperatives. He also believes that cooperatives are only successful if they can adapt to change and continue to provide value to the member-owner. Don's leadership helped ensure MFA never lost sight of its purpose to benefit its members.

 

Don Mills is soft-spoken and humble, as well as a strong leader who knows what it takes to succeed. Don has spent his life as a member, employee and leader of cooperatives; a shining effort, strengthening the future for Missouri farmers.

 

 

A farmer at heart, forward-thinker, willingness to take risks to serve members, shining example of cooperative leadership