Area farmers receive welcome patronage refunds from ArborOne Farm Credit

Arbor One farm credit

Pee Dee area farmers are getting some welcome news this week. ArborOne Farm Credit, the region’s leading agricultural lender, is mailing $1.6 million in patronage refund checks to area customer-owners.

ArborOne, based in Florence, since 1988 has paid over $88 million in patronage refunds, which represent a portion of Arbor One’s net earnings to eligible customer-owners. Each eligible customer’s cash-back refund is based on the average loan volume during the calendar year—so the more loan business a customer has with ArborOne, the larger their patronage check.
For many farmers, the timing of this year’s patronage refund couldn’t be better. “This year more than ever, we are pleased to return a portion of our profits to our customers through patronage refunds,” said Kathy S. Heustess, President and CEO of ArborOne Farm Credit.

Heustess added: “A long summer drought followed by October’s historic flooding and the subsequent continuous fall rain made for an exceedingly difficult year for farmers in the Pee Dee in 2015. As our customers forge on, growing the food and fiber we depend upon every day, it is especially meaningful that we are able to pay patronage refunds this spring.

The ArborOne Board of Directors approves each year’s cash-back distribution in December and includes a number of factors in its decision, including the cooperative’s financial performance for the year. This year, the refund paid represents approximately 28% of the interest earned on loans during 2015.

Patronage refunds are just one of the many benefits offered by Farm Credit, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. “It’s nice to get money back from your lender—especially this year with the type of year we just had,” enthused Mark Gaskins, an ArborOne customer and farmer from Chesterfield. “When you are used to getting bills from your lender, and then you open up an envelope and a check is in there, it makes for a good day,” Gaskins continued.

In the past two years, ArborOne has paid nearly $7 million back to its customers—literally putting the lending cooperative’s profits back into customer pockets.

ArborOne is a proud member of the national Farm Credit system and serves the following counties: Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Sumter, and Williamsburg. Since 1916, Farm Credit has provided a reliable and consistent source of credit for farm families and rural communities. ArborOne finances farm operations, equipment, land, and also makes rural home loans. The cooperative also offers crop and life insurance to its members.

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Author: Jana Pye

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