This time, the checks really are in the mail. Farm Credit Services of America, a cooperative four-state ag lending bank, is sending out checks to its members. Interim President and CEO Gene College says for several years now F-C-S has been looking at the idea of sharing “patronage” payments with producers. College says the board determined this was the year they were in a good enough capital position to return some money to stockholders. They determined what the payments would be back in 2004 based on three-fourths of a percent of the average lease balances that entire year. The checks are going to producers in Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming. College says F-C-S is making the paybacks because of its strong financial position. One of the criteria was that FCS would have financial strength to afford the patronage payments, but to keep up an ongoing payment program in years to come and still be financially sound. College says they think that will be possible. Another refund has already been authorized by the co-op’s board for next year.College says from what they have heard, the money will be used for a number of purposes. He says some people will make purchases they hadn’t intended, some will expand their farming operations and some will use the money to make an extra payment on their operating loans. College says over 52 million dollars in “patronage checks” may already be in the mail. Farm Credit Services fended off a buyout attempt last year by Dutch ag lending giant Rabobank.
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