American AgCredit, which this month will start construction on a new headquarter complex in Santa Rosa in April, said Monday that its assets rose 4 percent last year to nearly $6.5 billion.

The farmer-owned financial cooperative, the seventh-largest in the nation, reported net income also rose almost 4 percent to $111 million.

Based on that performance, American AgCredit said it has paid nearly $37 million in cash dividends to its owners, a decline of 8 percent from last year. Since 2005, the cooperative has distributed $215 million in dividends.

"We firmly believe that sharing the rewards with our members makes good business sense and allows them to share in the success they have created," President and CEO Byron Enix said in a statement.

The cooperative attributed increased income last year primarily to loan growth and to a reduction in its provision for credit losses.