May 3, 2021
The following message was sent to members from Board Chair Laurie Griffen and CEO Mike Reynolds.
Dear Farm Credit East Customer:
We hope your spring season is off to a strong start and less chaotic than this time last year. At Farm Credit East, we’ve had a busy start to the year! We kicked it off announcing a record $89 million patronage dividend on 2020 earnings, which results in an average 1.25% reduction in customers’ effective interest rate. Following our annual meeting, we launched our annual director elections. The polls closed in mid-April and the results were mailed to all stockholders shortly thereafter and are also noted below. In April, we also announced our intent to merge with Yankee Farm Credit.
Yankee Farm Credit has been a partner with Farm Credit East for many years, including in providing crop insurance through Crop Growers, LLP; investing in startup farm and forestry operations through FarmStart, LLP; and in supporting agricultural organizations and youth and leadership development efforts through the Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement grant program. We also share the same funding bank, CoBank, and are equally united in our customer-focused mission to help Northeast agriculture, commercial fishing and forest products businesses succeed. With these many similarities in mind, we look forward to the opportunity to combine our highly skilled teams.
Over the next several months, the management teams of both organizations will develop a merger packet with a thorough analysis of the merger that will be provided to members prior to the stockholder vote later this year. Assuming all conditions are met, and the proposed merger receives stockholder and regulatory approval, we expect the merged association to begin operations on January 1, 2022, under the Farm Credit East name and the leadership of Farm Credit East CEO Mike Reynolds.
Rest assured, your existing Farm Credit East relationship will not change as a result of this merger. There will be no office closures or staffing changes considered as part of this merger, so customers can expect the same personalized service from the newly merged association.
There will be a number of benefits of this merger that extend to members over time. As regulated financial institutions with increasing technology and compliance requirements, it will be advantageous to share these costs and resources going forward. Additionally, the combined association will benefit from increased loan diversity, a stronger capital base and enhanced earnings.
To stay up-to-date as more information becomes available on the intended merger, visit our intent to merge page.
As we notified customers in a recent stockholder letter, the following candidates have been elected to serve on your board of directors:
- Eastern Region: Lisa Sellew of Prides Corner Farms, Inc. in Lebanon, CT
- Central Region: LouAnne King of Mapleview Dairy LLC in Madrid, NY
- Western Region: John Knopf of Fa-Ba Farms, LLC in Canandaigua, NY
Your participation in the annual director election is an important part of your membership, so we thank you for your participation.
At the board’s April 27 reorganization meeting, Laurie Griffen, of Stillwater, N.Y., was reelected as board chair and John Knopf, of Canandaigua, N.Y., was reelected as vice chair. In addition to Chair Griffen and Vice Chair Knopf, the Executive Committee also includes Peter Call, of Batavia, N.Y., and Lisa Sellew, of South Glastonbury, Conn.
While COVID-19 is still a risk, we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. To protect the health and safety of our staff and customers, we continue to comply with state and local mandates. Many of our offices have been able to welcome increased staff back into the office and our team is back out visiting customers’ operations. We hope you’re as excited about this return to in-person interactions as we are. However, our team is also fully equipped to serve your credit and financial services needs however you feel most comfortable, so be in touch with your local Farm Credit East representative to let us know how we can best serve you.
This is an exciting time for Farm Credit in the Northeast. Both Farm Credit East and Yankee Farm Credit are financially strong cooperatives and this financial strength will benefit members over the long term. We look forward to utilizing our expanded resources to provide additional value to Northeast agriculture, commercial fishing and forest products businesses for generations to come.
Michael J Reynolds Laurie K. Griffen
Chief Executive Officer Board Chair
Farm Credit East, ACA Farm Credit East, ACA