Q&A with Glen Cope, Chairman of the MFA Oil Board of Directors
April 29, 2021
Written By Adam Buckallew
Glen Cope, a fourth-generation cattle rancher from Aurora, Mo., has served on the MFA Oil Board of Directors since December 2018 and was elected chairman on December 16, 2020.
How would you describe yourself and your farming operation?
I grew up on my family’s cattle operation in Barry County, which was started by my great-grandparents in 1910. Today, along with my father and brother, we raise 600 cow-calf pairs and purchase an additional 1,000 yearling cattle off the farm to background. We direct market our cattle to feedlots in Kansas and Nebraska. My wife, Leanne, and I have a son, Orran, 16, and a daughter, Katie, 10. We’re thankful for the opportunity to raise our children on the farm and instill in them important values such as the love of God, country, and hard work.
What motivated you to serve on the Board of Directors?
I served for 12 years on the MFA Incorporated Board of Directors until I reached my term limit. When my MFA Oil board member announced his retirement, it seemed like an excellent opportunity to continue to serve. MFA Oil has a tremendous legacy. It has been a vital supplier to our farm and thousands of farms across the cooperative’s trade territory.
Cooperatives have always played a significant role in sustaining generations of our family. I get my electricity, farm supplies, financing, and of course, fuel from cooperatives. I believe in the cooperative system and have always felt the need to give back to the industry that has made my living and works to provide exceptional products and services at competitive prices. When possible, MFA Oil returns a portion of its annual profits to the member-owners in patronage. What other form of business is there that truly exists for its members in that its sole purpose is to meet their needs?
What has been your approach as chairman when it comes to helping govern the cooperative?
My goal from the very beginning is to have the attitude of servant leadership. The board and I want MFA Oil to focus on hiring and retaining the best employees that love their job and come to work every day motivated to take care of customers and do the right thing. The board works diligently to prepare for meetings, asks the right questions and makes sure we serve the best interests of the delegates and members that have put us in these roles.
We try to take advantage of training opportunities that give us the skills needed to make sure MFA Oil is on the right track to serve our customers’ daily needs. Our CEO, Jon Ihler, early on in his role, adopted a set of core values that asks all employees to put customers first, be tenacious, and lead by example. Our board is in full support of these efforts.
What do you view as the most crucial issue MFA Oil is facing?
MFA Oil is primarily an energy supply business. The bulk of the products we market to our customers are fossil fuels. Like it or not, the cultural and political landscape and the perception of fossil fuels have changed in recent years. As the shift continues to move towards renewable energy, our board and senior management are investigating ways to adapt to our industry’s direction. We are working hard to remain relevant and be on the cutting edge of emerging energy trends in the future. Since 1929, MFA Oil has been supplying energy needs to those of us involved in agriculture and beyond. MFA Oil will continue to help farmers and ranchers with their energy needs as we close in on nearly a century in this business, and I am confident we will continue to do so for many years into the future.