Pat Westhoff has been named as the newest holder of the Howard Cowden Professorship. Dr. Westhoff is a professor of agricultural and applied economics, and the director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at MU. His contribution to agricultural policy is critical to agricultural cooperatives and their member-owners in Missouri and across the nation. Dr. Westhoff and his FAPRI colleagues also work regularly with congressional staffers and USDA leaders to evaluate proposed agricultural legislation intended to provide farmers with a solid economic footing.
The professorship is named for Howard Cowden, a southwest Missouri native who started his cooperative career with MFA in the 1920s. Later, he formed what would become Farmland Industries. Originally, the coop was named the Union Oil Company in 1929, and it transitioned to being the Consumers Cooperative Association in 1935 before it was called Farmland Industries. Cowden retired in 1961 from his long-held chief executive title. Throughout Cowden’s career, he was driven by his passion to give farmers a better economic advantage in the marketplace.