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AgSouth distributes $19 million; awards market grants

               AgSouth Chief Executive Officer Pat Calhoun announced that current and former members of AgSouth Farm Credit in Georgia and South Carolina received more than $19 million in patronage from the agricultural cooperative's 2011 profits. The distribution went out to members last week.
        According to Chief Financial Officer Alisa D. Gunter, "While distribution of allocated surplus is a board decision, the revolvement of these funds has been on a consistent five-year schedule for the past 25 years. To date the association has returned more than $452 million in cash and allocated surplus to our members."
        AgSouth expects to announce a significant return of patronage later this month from the Association's 2016 profits.
Helping farmers markets
        AgSouth Marketing Director Christy Smith announced that the cooperative has once again set aside $25,000 to help community-based farmers markets promote their markets during 2017.
        Fifty farmers markets in AgSouth's territory will receive $500 to promote their markets.
        "AgSouth's purpose in awarding these grants is to increase awareness of how choosing to purchase locally-produced foods and goods benefits each community's health and economy," Smith said. "As part of the Farm Credit System, AgSouth Farm Credit has been providing financial support to farmers and those in our rural areas for more than a century. This is the fifth year we have provided funds to help local markets with their advertising,."
        To be eligible for the grant, markets must be in AgSouth's territory, be open at least 8 days during a 2-month period, and have an average of at least 10 regularly participating vendors, half of which must sell agricultural products.
        The grant money must be used to advertise or otherwise promote the market while incorporating AgSouth's name or logo. All grant applications must be completed in full to the association by March 10.

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