Farm Credit East, ACA, the Northeast’s largest agricultural lending cooperative, announced its distribution of a record $60 million in cash patronage dividends to more than 11,400 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 will receive 22.5 percent of the interest earned in 2017.
As owners of their financial cooperative, Farm Credit East’s customers share in the financial success of the cooperative through patronage dividends. Since the patronage program was first adopted, customer-owners of Farm Credit East (and predecessor cooperatives) have earned $713 million in dividends from ownership of their cooperative. This is the 22nd consecutive annual patronage payment paid by Farm Credit East.
Board Chairman Matt Beaton, of Wareham, Mass., noted, “Being able to consistently pay a healthy patronage dividend to our customer-owners reflects the strength of our cooperative. 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.”
“Paying patronage dividends, while also building capital levels, is a key part of the value-proposition of the Farm Credit East cooperative,” added Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. “By focusing on strong earnings and sound lending practices, we continue to grow as the leading financial partner to the Northeast agriculture, commercial fishing and the forest products industry and do our part to maintain investor confidence.”