Missouri Farmers Association (MFA) traces its beginnings to a one-room schoolhouse located north of Brunswick, MO. On a cold March night in the early 1900’s, seven farmers met in the Newcomer School to discuss an article by William Hirth, owner of the magazine, Missouri Farmer and Breeder. In response to Hirth’s article calling for the formation of farm clubs to save money, seven Brunswick-area farmers: Aaron Bachtel, Tom Penick, Will Heisel, George Heisel, Earl Smutz, John Kohl, and Will Armstrong met to discuss Hirth’s idea and formed the first Farm Club.
By banding together for economic strength, members of the Newcomer Schoolhouse Farm Club soon placed the first cooperative order for 1,150 pounds of baler twine. Hirth handled the initial orders free of charge. Because the Farm Club was able to save $400 in several group transactions, word spread like wildfire.
From that simple beginning on March 10, 1914, emerged the MFA cooperative which grew to become the largest business enterprise in the state. By the 1920’s, MFA represented 400 local cooperatives with William Hirth serving as its president until his death in 1940.
Throughout the 20th Century, MFA led agriculture in establishing businesses, organizations and other cooperatives with one purpose: to first and foremost serve farmers. By combining the principles of an established cooperative with the market savvy of an aggressive agribusiness, MFA Incorporated continues to uphold its tradition of meeting the needs of farmers from their home office based in Columbia, Missouri.
Residents of the community gave the Newcomer School to MFA to be preserved as a memorial to the first MFA Farm Club.