STEPHENVILLE - Just in time for the holiday season, more than 1,325 longtime customers of AgTexas Farm Credit Services will receive a welcome surprise in the mail soon - a check equal to a 1.25 percent reduction in their cost of borrowing from the rural lending cooperative.

The checks total $2.1 million in allocated equities that the AgTexas Board of Directors elected to distribute to borrower-stockholders based on the co-op's strong financial results this year.

"In spite of the current drought cycle and ongoing economic conditions, AgTexas has achieved sound income, capital and credit quality in 2011, and we are pleased to be able to return earnings to our customer-stockholders," said Mitchell Harris, AgTexas chief executive officer.

Allocated equity is patronage money that was earned in a previous year but allocated for future distribution. This latest distribution of allocated equities represents patronage that was declared on the cooperative's 2000 earnings.

It is in addition to a $3.1 million patronage that AgTexas declared last spring, based on 2010 earnings. That patronage included a record $2.17 million cash distribution to more than 1,700 eligible borrower-stockholders in March.

The remaining $930,000 was allocated for payment in the future.

"AgTexas is well-positioned to maintain a strong patronage program that provides our customers with value for their co-op membership," Harris said. This is the 16th consecutive year that AgTexas has returned patronage to its customers, who are also the owners of the cooperative.

AgTexas finances agricultural production, agribusiness, farm and ranch land, rural recreational property, and country homes. The Lubbock-headquartered cooperative has branch offices in Brownfield, Burleson, Hillsboro, Levelland, Lubbock, Ralls, Seminole and Stephenville. It is part of the nationwide Farm Credit System.

For more information, visit www.agtexas.com.