Farm Credit East, ACA, the Northeast’s largest agricultural lending cooperative, announced its distribution of a record $51 million in cash patronage dividends to more than 11,000 farm, fishing and forestry business owners and operators across Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

As owners of their financial cooperative, Farm Credit East’s customers have the opportunity to 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 $544 million in dividends from ownership of their cooperative. This is the nineteenth consecutive annual patronage payment paid by Farm Credit East.

Board Chairman Andy Gilbert, of Potsdam, N.Y., 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 agricultural expertise with strong customer-value.”

“Paying patronage dividends, while also building capital levels to allow us to serve future generations of farm businesses, 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 Northeast agriculture, commercial fishing and the forest products industry and do our part to maintain investor confidence.”