Farm Credit East, ACA has announced its distribution of a record $53 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. On average eligible customers will receive back in excess of 27 percent of the interest they paid in 2015.

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 $597 million in dividends from ownership of their cooperative. This is the twentieth consecutive annual patronage payment paid by Farm Credit East.

“Being able to consistently pay a healthy patronage dividend to our customer-owners reflects the strength of our cooperative,” said Andy Gilbert, Board Chairman. “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 is a key part of the value-proposition of the Farm Credit East cooperative,” said 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.”