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AgSouth to distribute agriculture funds statewide

Clayton, Henry share in largess

Farmers, agribusiness, landowners and other borrowers from AgSouth Farm Credit in Henry County and Clayton County, should watch the mail this month. They will share in $565,000.

The organization provides loans for land, equipment and production agriculture, crop insurance, leasing, and home mortgages. An AgSouth Farm Credit branch, based in Griffin, serves Butts, Clayton, Fayette, Henry and Spalding counties.

Current and former members of AgSouth Farm Credit will receive nearly $48 million in two separate distributions this spring, according to a press statement from the agency Tuesday.

“To our customers, receiving their check is like receiving 27 cents back for every dollar they paid in interest during 2011,” said Alisa D. Gunter, AgSouth’s Chief Financial Officer. “More than $8 million was paid to our members in cash, and the remaining $19.5 million will be held in an allocated surplus account to build the association’s capital. And, 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 21 years.”

AgSouth, on March 29, returned nearly $28 million for the year ending December 2011, according to AgSouth Marketing Manager Rhonda Uzzolino. The funds, she said, are a reward to members for doing business with AgSouth.

“We’re one of the few financial cooperatives that really pays dividends to our members — true dividends that matter,” said Uzzolino.

She added that AgSouth does not place any restrictions on how the money, once it is returned to its members, can be used.

“It is their money,” said Uzzolino. “Some of them use it to make payments to one source or another. Some of them go on vacation.”

AgSouth’s board of directors voted in March to authorize the revolvement of allocated surplus for the year ending December 2006. This revolvement totals more than $20 million, and checks will be mailed to customers in mid-April, the statement added.

“AgSouth is still lending and putting our profits into the pockets of our customers,” said AgSouth Chief Executive Officer Bill Spigener. “The association remains financially strong, and credit is available for farmers, agribusiness, landowners and other borrowers.

“To date, the association has returned more than $324 million in cash to our members,” Spigener added. “The economic impact the 2012 distributions will have on the communities we serve is significant.”

AgSouth, headquartered in Statesboro, has more than 7,240 members, and maintains administrative offices in Spartanburg, S.C., and Orangeburg, S.C. The cooperative’s 26 branches serve 59 Georgia and 34 South Carolina counties.

For more information, visit www.agsouthfc.com.