ENFIELD, Conn. — Farm Credit East, ACA, the Northeast’s largest agricultural lending cooperative, announced its distribution of a record $89 million in cash patronage dividends to more than 11,000 farm, fishing and forestry business owners and operators across Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. On average, eligible customers received a 1.25% reduction in their effective interest rate as a result of this patronage distribution — an increase from the 1.00% reduction the ACA has paid the past several years.
As owners of their financial cooperative, Farm Credit East’s customers share in the financial success of the cooperative through patronage dividends. This $89 million patronage distribution was split between a $30 million patronage advance paid to customer-owners in July 2020 to provide additional liquidity and cash flow during the challenging period caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The remaining $59 million patronage was paid to customers in February 2021.
Since the patronage program was first adopted, customer-owners of Farm Credit East (and predecessor cooperatives) have received $977 million in dividends from ownership of their cooperative. This is the 25th consecutive annual patronage payment paid by Farm Credit East.
“The board of directors is committed to maintaining a financially strong cooperative that combines in-depth expertise with strong customer value and a long-term commitment to the industries we serve,” said Board Chair, Laurie Griffen, of Stillwater, NY. “The board’s philosophy is that funds not needed to operate or capitalize the business should be returned to members.”
“Paying patronage dividends is an essential component of the value our cooperative provides to members,” said Mike Reynolds, Farm Credit East CEO. “By focusing on strong earnings and sound lending practices, Farm Credit East has the capacity to continue to pay patronage dividends and meet our members’ capital needs as the leading financial partner to the Northeast agriculture, commercial fishing and forest products industries.”
–Farm Credit East