Current and former members of AgSouth Farm Credit received nearly $44 million in two separate distributions this spring. Customers in Kershaw, Fairfield and Richland counties received nearly $672,000 in cash from its Camden office.
In March, the cooperative returned more than $29 million for the year ending December 31, 2014. Cash made up $9 million in distributions, with the remaining $20.6 million set aside in allocated surplus to be returned at a later date. The agricultural lending cooperative typically revolves allocated surplus funds on a five-year cycle and continued this model by revolving more than $14 million from 2009 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.
“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,” CFO Alisa D. Gunter said. “To date the association has returned more than $406 million in cash and allocated surplus to our members.”
Gunter also said 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 every dollar AgSouth returns to its customers has an estimated economic impact of $5 to $10 in the communities served by the cooperative as a result of possible investment, spending and employment.
“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,” Gunter said.