October is National Cooperative Month which brings attention to the multiple ways cooperatives help build more vibrant rural communities and improve the livelihood of their members. This newsletter is a shining example of how High Plains Farm Credit is an active financial cooperative that shares its success with our customer-stockholders.
High Plains Farm Credit is a cooperative, which means farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses who obtain a loan are required to purchase voting stock. The stock amount is typically $1,000 or less and this small investment entitles you to certain benefits and privileges. First and foremost, you have the right to vote on all matters which stockholders have the right to decide per Farm Credit regulations and our Association’s bylaws. Some examples of these matters are:
- Nominate and vote in the election of directors to the Association’s Board of Directors
- Vote in the selection of Nominating Committee members
- Vote on matters brought before the Annual Meeting
In addition, a voting stockholder is generally eligible to serve as a director or as a member of the Nominating Committee. The Committee met on a snowy January day, prepared and excited to contact our stockholders and fill out our 2019 ballot. I would like to thank all of the 2019 Nominating Committee members for a job well done.
At High Plains Farm Credit, it’s not enough to provide some of the most competitive interest rates available in agricultural lending, so we have implemented our patronage refund program. Borrowing money from High Plains Farm Credit and owning stock also makes you eligible to receive patronage refunds. Patronage refunds are based on the amount of business you have done with us. Patronage declarations are made at the sole discretion of the Board of Directors upon review of the Association’s financial performance. This year your Board of Directors declared a record $9.4 million of patronage to be returned to our stockholders. This record dividend lowers your cost of borrowing by approximately 0.85%!
At the end of March and beginning of April, we will be holding our annual Stockholder Appreciation events. I invite you to come and enjoy a great ribeye steak dinner and enjoy the fellowship of your neighbors, local directors, staff and management team. We will be expressing our gratitude and appreciation for your business as we shake your hand and give you your patronage check. In fact, maybe we need to add one more benefit to the list of being a High Plains Farm Credit stockholder. A great rate, excellent steak and a big check for doing business with us! If you aren’t a member, please call your local branch office to find out how to join the High Plains family.
Thank you for your business and I look forward to seeing all of you in the next few weeks.