Farm Credit East, ACA, the Northeast’s largest agricultural lending cooperative, announced its distribution of a record $91 million in cash patronage dividends to more than 11,000 farm, fishing and forestry business owners and operators across the Northeast. On average, eligible customers received a 1.25% reduction in their effective interest rate as a result of this patronage distribution.
Farm Credit East and Yankee Farm Credit completed a successful merger which became effective January 1, 2022. Yankee Farm Credit paid a record $9.1 million based on its 2021 earnings, meaning current Farm Credit East customers received over $100 million in combined patronage based on Farm Credit East and Yankee Farm Credit’s 2021 results.
As owners of their financial cooperative, Farm Credit East’s customers share in the financial success of the cooperative through patronage dividends. This cooperative model enables Farm Credit East to offer competitive interest rates up front, and then through continued success, return a share of net earnings to our owners via patronage dividends.
Since the patronage program was first adopted, customer-owners of Farm Credit East (and predecessor cooperatives) have received $1.2 billion in combined dividends from ownership of their cooperative. This is the 26th consecutive annual patronage payment paid by Farm Credit East.
“The board of directors is committed to maintaining a cooperative that combines in-depth expertise with financial strength to be a long-term partner to our members,” said Board Chair, Laurie Griffen, of Stillwater, N.Y. “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 our cooperative’s value proposition,” said Mike Reynolds, Farm Credit East CEO. “Farm Credit East has the capacity to invest in technology and our people, while continuing 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.”