Q&A with Mike Moreland of the MFA Oil Board of Directors
February 19, 2022
Written By Adam Buckallew
How would you describe yourself and your farming operation?
I always describe myself as a third-generation farmer from Cass County, Mo., but in reality, the Moreland family homesteaded and started farming in Maries County, Mo., in the 1840s. My wife, Heather, and I have been married 37 years and have four grown sons involved in agriculture. Moreland Farms LLC is a three-way partnership with my brother, Jay, and my oldest son, Matt. Our family had been in the dairy business for more than 70 years, but we sold our dairy cows in December 2018. Currently, we grow corn, soybeans and have a cow-calf herd of Angus cross cattle on 2,700 acres.
You have had the opportunity to serve on the board of directors for many farming organizations. How does serving on the MFA Oil Board of Directors compare to others?
I’ve had the honor and privilege to have served on several different agricultural organizations’ boards throughout the years. Most of those boards have been grassroots, non-profit and commodity-based organizations. MFA Oil is the first farmer-owned cooperative board on which I have served. The responsibilities of the board of directors are the same in most organizations. Primarily, we help shape the cooperative’s strategy and provide guidance to the CEO and management team to help them succeed in creating value for our member-owners. One of the most significant differences between MFA Oil versus previous boards on which I have served is the size and scope of the operations.
What would you tell other farmers about the importance of taking on leadership roles in their cooperative and the agricultural industry?
I learned from my parents and grandparents the importance of being involved in our industry. Those of us who make a living in agriculture account for less than 2 percent of the population of this country. If we are not involved in decision-making and policy development, somebody else will be, and we might not like the outcome. The same is true with our cooperatives. We need our delegates to be involved at the local and district level and share their input to help guide the board. Our cooperative was founded on these beliefs over 90 years ago, and those principles remain just as important today as they were then.
Since you were elected to the MFA Oil Board in 2019, what would you say have been the cooperative’s most notable achievements?
When I was elected in 2019, some issues had to be addressed. The board and executive team decided to implement a new set of core values: put the customer first, be tenacious and lead by example. As a company, I wouldn’t say we were going down the wrong path, but we were getting close. The morale of our customers and employees was low, and we knew changes were needed. This new direction for MFA Oil is making a difference in how we do business, and we are starting to see the results.
A new computer system, Energy-Force, was launched last year to replace the previous program, which wasn’t user-friendly and didn’t work well in the field. We know there will be a few hiccups along the way, but the new system will be better for our employees and customers.
What have you learned about the cooperative since becoming a director that you didn’t know before?
I had been a delegate for seven years and had attended many local area meetings and a couple of annual meetings before being elected to the board in 2019. One thing that I didn’t realize was how large of an area MFA Oil covered. We do business in eight states and have over 1,500 employees working for the company. My family has used MFA Oil fuel and lubricants for many years, but I was surprised by the cooperative’s vast number of products and services. Most of us are aware of the MFA Oil and MFA Inc. scholarship programs, but I didn’t realize the MFA Oil Foundation, which has been around since 1998, has given out over $2 million in grants to local causes in our rural communities. The foundation assists 4-H clubs, FFA chapters, local firefighters, small-town parks and homeless shelters, to name just a few examples. These organizations have benefitted thanks to the business our farmer-members do with their local MFA Oil locations.
Mike Moreland is a third-generation farmer from Harrisonville, Mo., where he raises corn, soybeans and cattle with his brother and son. He was elected to the MFA Oil Board of Directors in 2019 to represent District 5 – West Central.