January 12, 2021
Dear Farm Credit East Customer:
Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the holiday season and that the new year is off to a good start. While 2020 brought unprecedented challenges, your cooperative remains strong. We continue to be inspired by our customers’ ability to adapt in this changing environment and, following the resilience we’ve witnessed over the past several months, our outlook for the year ahead is positive.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still a risk and case numbers are rising in many parts of our territory. We continue to closely monitor cases and are adjusting operations as necessary to protect the health and safety of our staff and customers and to comply with state and local mandates.
Given the post-holiday increase in cases, we have increased precautions at some of our offices. And while that may restrict access to our offices or limit our ability to visit customer operations in certain areas, we remain committed to meeting all of our customers’ needs. Be in touch with your Farm Credit East representative to schedule a virtual meeting or an in-person meeting if all parties are comfortable and it is permissible under state and local regulations.
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) loan forgiveness.
In the final hours of 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 was signed into law. Our team quickly dug into the legislation and developed summaries of the agriculture and tax provisions relevant to Northeast farm, fishing and forestry producers. These summaries can be accessed on our resource hub. Additionally, we held a webinar on January 14 to cover some of the key tax considerations for agricultural producers of the newly signed bill, including net operating losses for farmers and changes to the employee retention credit and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Visit FarmCreditEast.com/webinars to view the webinar recording.
Finally, 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 and also hosted a webinar on this topic on January 12. Access more information at FarmCreditEast.com/ResourceHub.
Annual Meeting & Director Election
Given the continuing impacts of COVID-19, we have decided to host our Annual Meeting virtually on Monday, March 22. We hope this virtual format will encourage wider attendance across the region, so please save this date. More information on how to register will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.
A key component of the Annual Meeting is to introduce the highly qualified candidates running for your board of directors. We have three four-year director seats open in 2021, one each in the eastern, central and western regions. The nominating committee met virtually on January 5 and advanced the following four candidates:
- Eastern Region: Nicholas Brunet of Auburn, NH and Lisa Sellew of Lebanon, CT
- Central Region: LouAnne King of Madrid, NY
- Western Region: John Knopf of Canandaigua, NY
More information on the qualifications of these candidates will be made available in the coming weeks. We encourage you to stay informed and, following the annual meeting in March, to please vote in the director election in April.
Season of Giving
Farm Credit East was pleased to give back to our local communities this holiday season, contributing over $100,000 to Northeast charities. Following our November customer appreciation meeting, we contributed $45,500 on behalf of those customers who attended the meeting, so again, thank you for your participation. In December, the Farm Credit East Cares Community Fund, supported by Farm Credit East employee voluntary contributions with a Farm Credit East match, donated $60,000 to more than 50 charitable organizations throughout the Northeast. We hope these donations helped the recipient organizations continue to serve local communities.
As we head into a new year, know your cooperative is strong. We remain on track to pay the remainder of 2020 patronage, following this summer’s patronage advance, in February. Farm Credit East has the capacity and the tools to continue to serve customers, 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