Congressman Randy Forbes of Virginia's Fourth District recently met with Farm Credit directors and local farmers as they announced the distribution of a $1,458,475 patronage refund to customers in his district recently.
Farm Credit, an agricultural lending cooperative, will distribute almost $5 million this summer to farmers and rural residents who use the company's services across eastern Virginia and southern Maryland.
"Farm Credit is a very valuable resource in the support system of the rural community, and their patronage program continues to be a great benefit to the farmers in my district," Forbes said.
Colonial Farm Credit is part of the nationwide Farm Credit system of member-owned lending cooperatives serving rural America. Their cooperative structure enables them to return a portion of their income to customers in the form of a patronage refund.
"Our strong capital position, profitability, liquidity, and sound credit quality have allowed us to pay such a large patronage refund, reducing our customers' net cost of borrowing by almost one full percentage point," said Greg Farmer, president and chief executive officer of Colonial Farm Credit.
"Additionally, we further reduced our customers' costs by voluntarily lowering their contract interest rates as our cost of funds has declined. During the last three years, we have reduced the interest rate on over 3,000 loans."
Colonial Farm Credit has paid a patronage refund to its customers consistently during the past decade.
"As a director for Farm Credit and also as a farmer, it is very important that Farm Credit remains a strong source of funding in both good times and in bad times," said Robert Spiers, a local farmer and member of the board of directors, which approved the refund amount.
Colonial Farm Credit provides more than $600 million in financing to more than 5,200 customer-owners in eastern Virginia and southern Maryland. The cooperative employs 81 people and operates 14 offices throughout the region.
The organization loans funds and provides financing expertise to farmers, agribusinesses and rural homeowners for land and home purchases and farm operating purposes.