March 1, 2021
Dear Farm Credit East Customer:
I hope you are well. While we are now a year into the pandemic, the vaccine rollout continues, infection rates are on the decline and spring is on the horizon, so I hope you’re as optimistic as I am about some return to normalcy and a busy growing season ahead.
In late February, Farm Credit East was pleased to distribute the remainder of its 25th annual patronage payment in the amount of $59 million, following a $30 million patronage advance in July 2020. Collectively, customer-owners received $89 million in patronage dividends on 2020 earnings, this results in a 1.25% reduction in customers’ effective interest rate, which is an increase from the 1.00% reduction the ACA has paid the past several years.
The Farm Credit East board is committed to returning funds not needed to operate or capitalize the business to members. As an owner of the cooperative, this patronage dividend is your share of the cooperative’s financial success. 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. Learn more about patronage dividends.
Annual Meeting & Director Election
Given the continuing impacts of COVID-19, we have decided to host our Annual Meeting virtually on Monday, March 22 at 7 p.m. We hope this virtual format will allow customers from across the region to attend. This year’s meeting will provide opportunity for you to hear from the highly qualified candidates running for your Board in 2021; you’ll receive reports from the Board, management and nominating committee; and elect next year’s nominating committee. The meeting will conclude with the announcement of the winners of the Lipinski Rural Initiatives Award. To register to attend, visit FarmCreditEast.com/AnnualMeeting or call (800) 562-2235.
Following the Annual Meeting, voting stockholders will be mailed their ballots to vote in the 2021 director election. In 2021, there are three four-year director seats up for election, one each in the eastern, central and western regions. The following four candidates seek election for the three open seats:
- Eastern Region: Nicholas Brunet of Auburn, NH and Lisa Sellew of South Glastonbury, CT
- Central Region: LouAnne King of Waddington, NY
- Western Region: John Knopf of Canandaigua, NY
We encourage you to visit our website at FarmCreditEast.com/DirectorElections to learn more about each of the candidates running for your board in 2021, and please be on the lookout for your ballot in early April. New this year, you will be able to cast your vote by mail or online. Your participation in the annual director election is an important part of your membership, so I thank you in advance for your participation.
Our team remains committed to providing you with useful information as you navigate COVID-19 federal and state relief programs and tax law changes relevant to ag businesses. Visit our regularly updated COVID-19 resource page at FarmCreditEast.com/ResourceHub to stay informed, including the latest updates on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Also, a reminder to customers to stay vigilant in monitoring your accounts for unusual activity. There have been increasing reports of scammers attempting to take advantage of COVID-19 relief programs to access information. Farm Credit East has various resources on how to protect your information available on its website. Visit FarmCreditEast.com/ResourceHub to learn more.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still a risk. We continue to closely monitor cases and adjust operations as necessary to protect the health and safety of our staff and customers and to comply with state and local mandates. However, our team remains equipped to continue to efficiently serve customers. Farm Credit East has the capacity and the tools to continue to serve your credit and financial services needs, so be in touch with your local Farm Credit East representative to let us know how we can best serve you.
Michael J Reynolds
Chief Executive Officer
Farm Credit East, ACA