Unwavering fiscal discipline, champion of financial objectivity, stalwart proponent of growth through sound business practices, and ardent supporter of the cooperative enterprise
David Jobe is first and foremost a businessman. Throughout his career at MFA Incorporated, David championed financial objectivity. He firmly held that the economic viability of a project should be dispassionately assessed. David’s penchant for financial analysis grew from his fundamental understanding of the cooperative model. For a cooperative, capital is scarce. It is imperative for executive leaders to make the wisest use of limited capital. Fiscal discipline through objective decision-making based on unbiased data is critical to effectively serve the members.
During the period of the cooperative’s metamorphosis from a farm organization to an agricultural business, David brought fiscal discipline and financial analysis to the executive offices and helped to refocus MFA’s vision on sound business practices.
David was a stalwart believer in growth. Underlying his vision of growth was a strongly held principle that retained earnings were essential to grow the business. David’s financial analysis was instrumental to a series of strategic moves to expand MFA’s footprint. Though limited liability companies and joint ventures, MFA improved the equity position of the cooperative. Members gained more services and also had more patronage returned.
David represented MFA’s affiliations in numerous national organizations, serving on the boards of Mississippi Chemical Corporation, Universal Cooperative, Farmers Export Company, to name a few. He was called on time and time again to provide fiscal analysis. For example, in the early 1980s MFA’s feed operations in southern Missouri were underperforming. Many members were unhappy. David was sent to gather facts and provide an analysis. David’s recommendation called for restructuring, new equipment and a price hike. Despite complaints, David persisted. The operations had exhausted assets without retaining earnings. All profit had been returned to current customers with little regard for customer needs on an ongoing basis. A cooperative, David said, cannot operate that way from a business or ethical standpoint.
David’s commitment to the next generation of cooperative leaders is evident by his service on the board of the MFA Foundation for 25 years. Throughout the 1980s David wrote a series of columns in Today’s Farmer magazine promoting cooperative principles and explaining the ways in which cooperatives could enhance agricultural profitability. David was more responsible than anyone at MFA for making certain the policies and the very structure of the cooperative closely aligned with historical commitments and principles of cooperatives.