Farm Credit East, ACA, an agricultural lending cooperative in the Northeast, paid a record $35 million in patronage dividends to its customer-owners in February — more than 10,900 farm, fishing and forestry business owners and operators across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. A number of greenhouse operations secure their financing through Farm Credit, as well.
Paid entirely in cash, this dividend is equivalent to about 23 percent of the interest that Farm Credit East customers paid in 2010.
As owners of their financial cooperative, Farm Credit East’s customers have the opportunity to financially share in that success through patronage dividends. Since the patronage program was first adopted, customer-owners of Farm Credit East (formerly First Pioneer Farm Credit and Farm Credit of Western New York) have earned more than $338 million in dividends from ownership of their cooperative. This is the financial cooperative’s 16th consecutive annual patronage payment.
“The board is committed to maintaining a financially strong cooperative that combines in-depth agricultural expertise with strong customer-value,” says Board Chairman Abbott Lee, Chatsworth, N.J. “Being able to consistently pay a healthy patronage dividend to our customer-owners reflects the strength of our cooperative.”
Adds William J. Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO: “Paying patronage dividends, while also building capital levels to allow us to serve future generations of farm businesses, is a key part of the value proposition of the Farm Credit East cooperative. By focusing on sound lending practices and strong capital we continue to grow as the leading financial partner to Northeast agriculture, commercial fishing and the forest products industry.”
Farm Credit East extends more than $4.4 billion in loans and has 19 local offices in its six-state service area. In addition to loans and leases, the organization also offers a full range of agriculturally specific financial services for businesses related to farming, horticulture, forestry and commercial fishing. Farm Credit East is governed by a 20-person board of directors from across the Northeast.
For more information, go to FarmCreditEast.com.