FOSTORIA — AgCredit, one of northern Ohio’s largest lenders for farmers, rural homeowners and agribusiness, has announced that it will return a record $41 million in patronage funds to eligible customer-owners.
This marks the 33rd consecutive year the cooperative has distributed earnings to its customers, returning a cumulative $339 million. This year’s record payout will lower a loan rate by 45% on eligible loans.
“Many producers faced significant economic difficulties and stress in 2019, including challenging weather conditions, prolonged low prices and other hardships beyond their control. For this reason, we’re pleased to return such a high portion of what we earned to our customer-owners,” said Brian Ricker, AgCredit CEO.
“The record $41 million was made possible because of excellent net income, the cooperative’s strong financial base built over many years and a low growth rate on loans experienced in 2019. The low growth in loans was related to the uncertainty and unprecedented wet conditions that contributed to less acres being planted, fewer operating loans being written and delays in capital purchases for many operations,” he said.
“The Association did not need to retain as much net income to capitalize its growth in 2019. This demonstrates the true value of cooperative membership and the importance of having a locally elected board of directors who are farmers themselves and understand the current challenges facing our local farm operations,” Ricker said.
“When you get a portion of your interest returned to you each year — and then spread that money throughout your community by purchasing goods and services locally — the dividend you receive becomes a recurring cycle of support that enriches the lives of your friends and neighbors. It’s the cooperative way. It’s the AgCredit way. And you reap the benefits of the cooperative way of doing business.“
Checks will be available in March during patronage parties to be held at local AgCredit branches. Checks not picked up at a branch will be mailed to customer-owners.
AgCredit is a member of the nationwide Farm Credit System. For more information about the Association, its patronage dividend program, or its record patronage return, please visit www.AgCredit.net.