Farm Credit’s support for rural communities and agriculture is rooted in a ground - up approach.
As cooperative organizations, we are owned and governed by our customers. Their success drives every decision we make. And those decisions start with the board of directors.
Elected by their peers, the members of the boards of directors are customer-owners themselves. In addition to relying on Farm Credit for reliable, consistent credit and financial services, they have taken their participation to the next level.
Democratically elected, these individuals collectively leverage their expertise to provide important direction and ensure the safety and soundness of the finances at their institutions.
Most often, board members are farmers and ranchers themselves and have a deep understanding of the challenges their fellow customer-owners face each day. That knowledge extends to the commitment they place on providing opportunities and special programs for young and beginning farmers, as these new producers develop business plans and work toward commercial viability.
In carefully managing the safety and soundness of the institution, board members also determine how best to distribute the net income their Farm Credit institution earns each year.
That net income is only used in two ways: 1) retained within the institution to build financial strength that ensures continued lending or 2) returned to our customer-owners by way of patronage dividends, effectively lowering the cost of borrowing. Usually it’s an appropriate mix of both options.
In 2016, Farm Credit collectively returned $1.6 billion to its customer-owners – America’s farmers and ranchers, farmer-owned cooperatives and other agribusinesses, rural homebuyers and rural infrastructure providers.
It’s all part of what sets us apart from other financial partners. It’s the Farm Credit difference.