Current and former members of AgSouth Farm Credit received nearly $44 million in two separate distributions this spring. Customers in Bryan, Bulloch, Candler, Emanuel, Evans, and Jenkins counties received more than $1.3 million in cash.
In March the cooperative returned more than $29 million for the year ending December 31, 2014. Nearly $9 million was distributed in cash, and the remaining $20.6 million set aside in allocated surplus to be returned at a later date.
The agricultural lending cooperative has typically revolved allocated surplus funds on a five-year cycle and was able to continue that model by revolving more than $14 million from 2009 in May of this year. Patronage distributed in cash from 2014 profits and allocated surplus returned from 2009 profits resulted in a total cash distribution of $23 million.
According to CFO 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 24 years. To date the association has returned more than $406 million in cash and allocated surplus to our members."
She went on to explain that the distribution of these funds has "an enormous impact on the economies of the areas we serve."
Dr. David M. Kohl, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Finance and Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship at Virginia Tech, projected that every dollar AgSouth returns to its customers has an estimated economic impact of five to ten dollars in the communities served by the cooperative as a result of possible investment, spending, and employment.
According to Gunter, "Using Dr. Kohl's factors, the $23 million in cash distributions the association made this spring will have an estimated impact of $115 million to nearly a quarter of a billion dollars on the rural communities in Georgia and South Carolina served by AgSouth."
Statesboro Regional Vice President Robbie Haranda said, "Agriculture is the number one industry in the state, and it's our privilege as a cooperative to be able to reinvest our profits in the areas we serve. The impact this patronage return will have on the local economy is significant."