5 Questions with Kim Diehl
January 20, 2018
Written By Adam Buckallew
What motivated you to get involved with the cooperative and serve on the board?
It seems like most people these days are too content to sit back and watch things happen. I prefer to get involved in the organizations I’m a part of because I want to help make a difference. Our cooperative was built by farmer-leaders of the past, and it’s up to us to make sure MFA Oil continues to be successful in the future.
How would you describe your farming operation?
We are proud to be sixth-generation farmers working on farmland that has been in our family for 150 years. Our diversified family farming operation is located in rural Bates County, Mo., where we raise corn, soybeans, wheat and cattle. The majority of the crops are grown on dryland, but we do have a small percentage that is irrigated.
Our cattle operation mostly consists of cow-calf pairs, which we raise on our pastures. Once the calves reach 500 pounds, we move them to our feedlot, where they will stay for about a year before they are sold. The majority of the corn we raise goes into feed for the cattle.
Two of my sons, Dane and Dirk, work on the farm with me, and my other son, Cale, just took a job with an oil company in Colorado. In addition to farming, my wife, Julie, and I also own and operate trucking and dozer operations.
How do you view your responsibilities as a member of the MFA Oil Board of Directors?
There are a couple of key things board members are responsible for doing on behalf of our fellow farmers. The first is making sure we keep the lines of communication open between our delegates and the company’s executive team. We relay the membership’s thoughts, concerns and other feedback to management.
Our other primary responsibility is the governance of the cooperative. We’re there to provide oversight and to ensure not only that the company is fiscally responsible, but also that it is doing right by its members, employees and communities.
You’ve been on the Board of Directors for a full year now. What have you learned in your time on the board that you weren’t aware of prior to your election?
Probably the thing that has surprised me the most is the amount of time it requires. I’ve spent a fair amount of time talking with farmers and delegates in my district about a variety of issues. I do my best to make sure their feedback is passed on to the proper parties. Most of the things I get called about are minor, but occasionally there are important matters that arise. I’ve been impressed with how responsive the management team is in handling these concerns. They care a great deal about our farmer-members.
What are the most important issues MFA Oil and its owners are facing today?
Farmers and agricultural cooperatives are facing a lot of change these days. The marketplace is changing quickly, and we have to adapt if we hope to remain competitive and relevant moving forward. Both farmers and MFA Oil will need to keep up with technology and embrace the changes it brings.
From the cooperative’s perspective, it’s important that we continue to provide our members with high-quality products and exceptional service at competitive prices. That’s the bottom line for success.