Nearly 100 years after the U.S. Congress established Farm Credit to serve as a reliable source of credit for the nation’s farmers and ranchers, Farm Credit of Northwest Florida and the entire Farm Credit System remain a sound and vital financial resource for rural America. Today marks the cooperative www.farmcredit-network.com/producingexcellence/profiles/single/80 networks’ 98th anniversary.
“For 98 years, the Farm Credit System has served agriculture and rural America as a dedicated, reliable, competitive, customer-owned source of credit,” said Rick Bitner, CEO. “America’s agricultural producers and rural communities have benefited greatly from the vision and foresight that went into establishing the Farm Credit System.”
Today, about 40 percent of the dollar volume of outstanding loans to U.S. farmers and ranchers comes from Farm Credit. The federally chartered network is comprised of 82 privately owned institutions, including four wholesale banks and 78 direct lending associations that operate in every county in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
Farm Credit of Northwest Florida specializes in providing financing expertise to farmers, agribusinesses and rural homeowners for land, homes and farm operations in 18 counties across the Florida Panhandle.
In addition, the Farm Credit System provides financing for the processing and marketing activities of these borrowers, as well as to rural homeowners, certain farm-related businesses, and agricultural and public utility cooperatives.
In support of its mission of service, Farm Credit System institutions also have programs specifically focused on meeting the needs of young, beginning and small farm and ranch operators. In 2013, more than 40 percent of new loans made by Farm Credit were to small producers, those with annual gross agricultural sales of $250,000 or less.
“Our cooperative model is designed specifically to ensure that our lending and related financial services are driven by the needs of our borrower-owners,” Rick Bitner said. “Our focus remains on the success of our owners rather than on achieving quarterly returns to impress stockholders.”
Farm Credit’s commitment to its borrower-owners is demonstrated further by the fact that associations share profits directly with borrowers through patronage dividends. In 2014, Farm Credit of Northwest Florida has delivered a total of $4,000,000 in cash patronage and allocated surplus. This patronage return has allowed borrower-owners to reinvest in their own operations and to further support rural communities through local spending.
”Today, Farm Credit celebrates its heritage as it continues to fulfill its mission to serve U.S. agriculture and rural America,” Richard Terry, Chairman of the Board said. “Farm Credit was established as a permanent system of credit that is to be responsive to the needs of our nation’s agricultural sector, and we look forward to continued success and a bright future.”
About the Farm Credit System
For nearly a century, Farm Credit has been a national provider of credit and related services to rural America through its cooperative network of customer-owned lending institutions. Farm Credit provides more than $200 billion in loans and leases to farmers, ranchers, rural homeowners, aquatic producers, timber harvesters, agribusinesses, and agricultural and rural utility cooperatives. For more information about the Farm Credit System, please visit www.farmcredit.com.
About Farm Credit of Northwest Florida
Farm Credit of Northwest Florida is a member-owned financial cooperative headquartered in Marianna, Fl., that serves 18 counties throughout the Florida panhandle. Farm Credit offers highly competitive credit to meet the financing needs of farmers, agribusinesses, rural landowners and homeowners. For more information about the types of financing available, or how cooperative lenders share their profits with borrowers, go to www.farmcredit-fl.com.