ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, U.S. — Farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the U.S. will share in an estimated $519 million cash distribution from CHS Inc., an agricultural co-op and a global energy, grains and foods company. The distribution ranks among the largest in CHS history and extends a five-year record of significant cash returns to owners.

David Bielenberg, CHS board chairman, said the 2016 cash returns to owners demonstrate CHS commitment to maintaining a strong financial foundation, providing economic returns to its owners and continuing to invest in the company's future.

"The ability of our owners, who are also our customers, to directly share in the financial success of CHS is a unique benefit of a cooperative business," said Bielenberg. "And, this cash return is added value that enables farmers, ranchers and member cooperatives to invest in their own futures and in the communities where they live."

The 2016 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $781 million for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2015. Between fiscal 2012 and 2016 (based on fiscal 2011-15 earnings) CHS has distributed a total of $2.7 billion in cash, a $544 million annual average, the company said.

The distribution beginning this month to about 1,100 member cooperatives and approximately 50,000 individual members and others consists of patronage paid on business conducted with CHS in fiscal 2015. During fiscal 2016, CHS will also redeem previously earned equity to eligible member cooperatives and individual members, as well as pay quarterly dividends on its five classes of CHS preferred stock, the company said.