Dale Minyo got an update on the largest ever FCMA patronage distribution in 2024 from Melanie Strait-Bok, FCMA Senior Vice President of Agricultural Lending for Ohio at the new Mansfield location.

Largest ever patronage distribution from Farm Credit Mid-America

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

The week of March 18, Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA) was busy celebrating National Ag Week by making farm visits to deliver patronage checks to owner members around the Midwest.

“We call this Christmas in March because it’s just such a fun way to celebrate Ag Week and say ‘thank you’ to all of our member owners. We get out on the farm and deliver checks to them instead of them having to bring checks in to make payments. It’s just a really rewarding week to be able to say, ‘thank you’ in a way that’s really impactful for their operation,” said Melanie Strait-Bok, FCMA Senior Vice President of Agricultural Lending for Ohio. “This year we’re giving back $255 million to our customers. For Ohio customers, we’re giving back about $61 million in patronage. When you look at all of the years that Farm Credit Mid-America has been paying back patronage since 2016, it’s $1.25 billion that we have been able to give back to our customers. Then they’re able to take and utilize that on their farm the way they need to. If they have some plans they thought they were going to have to wait a couple more years to do, now they can do it with their patronage check, or pay a debt off early, or make some repairs in the farming operation — there’s just multitude of ways they can use the patronage. It’s really cool to think about $1.25 billion going back into the hands of the farmers. There were quite a few with raised eyebrows and big eyes when they were opening up checks. It’s just a lot of fun to see them open up the checks and be surprised at the amount that they’re getting back and then also hearing what they’re going be able to do with that to help. They seem to be really happy to see us pull in the driveway this week.”

The returning of patronage checks to farmers is part of the FCMA’s cooperative structure.

“Cooperatives live by the principles that they were established under and one of them is giving back to customers. So, what happens each year within the cooperative is that our net earnings turn into our capital, and then our board takes a look at our capital position, our financials, our forecast for the next year, and they decide how much capital to pay back to our customers in the form of patronage,” Strait-Bok said. “For the vision and direction of the association, we have a board of directors throughout all six states. They come together and they help make decisions based on what’s best for our farmers and for the association. They’re the ones that vote on our patronage every year.”

Beyond patronage, FCMA customers also get to have input in ways the cooperative can support local rural communities.

“With a member-owned cooperative, members get to help provide the feedback to our directors who vote to make the changes for the association. Our charter is that we’re here to secure rural communities and agriculture into the future and that is what we do,” she said. “Our customers get to help decide what that looks like for us. One of the other benefits of a cooperative is the community giving and so we do quite a bit to help the local communities. For example, with the tornadoes that hit, we just made a donation to Logan County for $10,000 to help with recovery efforts. Being a cooperative and having the funds and having our customers tell us what they want to see can really make a positive impact in the local communities. That’s one of the really rewarding ways FCMA members can be a part of the association. As a customer who owns the association, members have a say in the impact that the cooperative is making outside of just helping their farming operation.”

In addition, FCMA also celebrated National Ag Week with an open house for their new office in Mansfield on March 21. For more, visit FCMA.com/patronage.

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One comment

  1. A post you have to read! Nice way to describe something, and a pleasure to read

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