Toggle SGML Header (+)


Section 1: 10-K (10-K)

fpi_Current Folio_10K

Table of Contents

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

(Mark One)

 

 

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018

or

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from         to         

 

Commission file number 001-36405

___________________________________________

FARMLAND PARTNERS INC.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

___________________________________________

 

 

Maryland

    

46-3769850

(State or Other Jurisdiction of

Incorporation or Organization)

 

(IRS Employer

Identification No.)

 

 

 

4600 South Syracuse Street, Suite 1450

Denver, Colorado

 

80237

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

(Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code (720) 452-3100

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

    

Name Of Each Exchange On Which Registered

Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share

 

New York Stock Exchange

6.00% Series B Participating Preferred Stock, $0.01 par value per share

 

New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐ No ☑

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No☑

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☑ No ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☑ No ☐

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer ☐

Accelerated filer ☑

Non-accelerated filer ☐

Smaller reporting company ☐

 

 

Emerging growth company ☑

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☑

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ☑

 

As of June 30, 2018, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $289,236,790 based on the closing sales price of $8.80 per share as reported on the New York Stock Exchange. (For purposes of this calculation all of the registrant’s directors and executive officers are deemed affiliates of the registrant.)

 

As of March 8, 2019, the registrant had 31,899,291 shares of common stock (34,295,802 on a fully diluted basis, including 2,396,511 Common Units of limited partnership interests in the registrant’s operating partnership) held by non-affiliates of the registrant outstanding for an aggregate market value of $165,238,327 ($177,652,254 on a fully diluted basis) based on the closing sales price of $5.18 on the New York Stock Exchange on March 8, 2019.

Documents Incorporated by Reference

Portions of the registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement relating to its 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this report. The registrant expects to file its Definitive Proxy Statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after December 31, 2018.

 

 


 

Table of Contents

FARMLAND PARTNERS Inc.

 

Form 10-K

For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2018

 

Table of Contents

 

PART I 

 

    

 

Item 1 

Business

 

4

Item 1A 

Risk Factors

 

12

Item 1B 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

35

Item 2 

Properties

 

35

Item 3 

Legal Proceedings

 

35

Item 4 

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

36

PART II 

 

 

 

Item 5 

Market For Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

36

Item 6 

Selected Financial Data

 

40

Item 7 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

41

Item 7A 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

61

Item 8 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

61

Item 9 

Changes and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

61

Item 9A 

Controls and Procedures

 

61

Item 9B 

Other Information

 

62

PART III 

 

 

 

Item 10 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

62

Item 11 

Executive Compensation

 

62

Item 12 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

62

Item 13 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

63

Item 14 

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

 

63

PART IV 

 

 

 

Item 15 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 

63

Item 16 

Form 10-K Summary

 

63

Signatures 

 

 

67

 

 

2


 

Table of Contents

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

We make statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K that are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (set forth in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”)). These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements concerning projections, predictions, expectations, estimates, or forecasts as to our business, financial and operational results, future economic performance, crop yields and prices, future rental rates for our properties and the outcomes of ongoing litigation, as well as statements of management’s goals and objectives and other similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. When we use the words “may,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “predicts,” “potential,” “continue,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “future,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates” or similar expressions or their negatives, as well as statements in future tense, we intend to identify forward-looking statements. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, beliefs and expectations, such forward-looking statements are not predictions of future events or guarantees of future performance and our actual results could differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.  Some factors that might cause such a difference include the following: general volatility of the capital markets and the market price of our common stock, changes in our business strategy, availability, terms and deployment of capital, our ability to refinance existing indebtedness at or prior to maturity on favorable terms, or at all, availability of qualified personnel, changes in our industry, interest rates or the general economy, the degree and nature of our competition, our ability to identify new acquisitions and close on pending acquisitions, and the other factors described in the risk factors included in Item 1A herein and in other documents that we file from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Given these uncertainties contained or reflected in forward-looking statements, undue reliance should not be placed on such statements.  We assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions, or changes in other factors affecting forward-looking information, except to the extent required by law. 

 

 

3


 

Table of Contents

PART I

 

Item 1. Business

 

Our Company

 

References to “we,” “our,” “us” and “our company” refer to Farmland Partners Inc., a Maryland corporation, together with our consolidated subsidiaries, including Farmland Partners Operating Partnership, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership (the “Operating Partnership”), of which we are the sole member of the sole general partner.

 

We are the largest public farmland real estate investment trust in the nation, with a portfolio spanning approximately 162,000 acres across 17 states. Our company is currently diversified across more than 100 tenant farmers who grow more than 26 major commercial crops. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, approximately 75% by value of our farmland portfolio is used to grow primary crops, such as corn, soybeans, wheat, rice and cotton, and the balance is used to grow specialty crops, such as almond, citrus, blueberries, vegetables and edible beans. In addition, under the FPI Loan Program, we make loans to third-party farmers (both tenant and non-tenant) to provide financing for working capital requirements and operational farming activities, farming infrastructure projects, and for other farming and agricultural real estate related purposes.

 

All of our assets are held by, and our operations are primarily conducted through, the Operating Partnership and its wholly owned subsidiaries. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we own 93.2% of the Class A Common units of limited partnership interest in the Operating Partnership (“Common units”) and none of the Series A preferred units of limited partnership interest in the Operating Partnership (“Series A preferred units”) or shares of our 6.00% Series B Participating Preferred Stock (the “Series B Participating Preferred Stock”). Unlike holders of our common stock, holders of Common units, Series A preferred units, and Series B Participating Preferred stock, generally do not have voting rights or the power to direct our affairs. See Note 9 to our consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding the Series A preferred units and our Series B Participating Preferred Stock.

 

In addition to farmland, we own the improvements on our farms, such as irrigation, drainage and grain storage facilities. We also may acquire properties related to farming, such as grain storage facilities, grain elevators, feedlots, processing plants and distribution centers, as well as livestock farms or ranches. In 2018 we had lease options on eleven of our farms for solar and wind production. In addition, during 2018, we engaged directly in farming through FPI Agribusiness Inc., our taxable REIT subsidiary (the “TRS” or “FPI Agribusiness”), whereby we operate a small number of acres (approximately 625 acres during 2018) relying on custom farming contracts with local farm operators.

 

Our principal source of revenue is rent from tenants that conduct farming operations on our farmland. The majority of the leases in place as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K have fixed annual rental payments. Some of our leases have a variable rent component based on the revenue generated by our farm-operator tenants. We believe that this mix of fixed and variable rents helps insulate us from the variability of farming operations and reduce our credit-risk exposure to farm-operator tenants, while generating attractive risk-adjusted returns and making us an attractive landlord in certain regions where variable leases are customary. However, we may be exposed to tenant credit risk and farming operation risks, particularly with respect to leases that do not require advance payment of at least 50% of the annual rent, leases for which the rent is based on a percentage of a tenant's farming revenues and leases with terms greater than one year.

 

We elected  and qualified to be taxed as a real estate investment trust (“REIT”), under Sections 856 through 860 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), commencing with our short taxable year ended December 31, 2014.

4


 

Table of Contents

Full Year 2018 and Recent Highlights

 

During 2018:

·

Operating revenues increased 21.3% from 2017 for a total of $56.1 million as compared to 2017 operating revenues of $46.2 million;

·

Net operating income increased 31.8% from 2017 for a total of $29.7 million as compared to 2017 net operating income of $22.5 million;

·

Net income increased 52.2% from 2017 for a total of $14.0 million as compared to 2017 net income of $9.2 million;  

·

Adjusted Funds from Operations (“AFFO”) decreased 33.6% from 2017 for a total of $9.0 million as compared to 2017 AFFO of $13.3 million;

·

We completed six asset acquisitions for total gross consideration of $33.2 million;

·

We completed five dispositions for total gross consideration of $31.9 million resulting in an aggregate gain on sale of $3.1 million;

·

We repurchased approximately 3.05 million shares of our common stock at an average price of $6.76 per share, or approximately $20.6 million in the aggregate; and

·

We repurchased approximately 24,000 shares of our Series B Participating Preferred Stock at an average price of $19.32 per share, or approximately $0.5 million in the aggregate.

For a definition of AFFO and a reconciliation of net income to AFFO, see “Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

 

Investment Focus

 

We seek to invest in farmland that will give our stockholders exposure to a well-diversified portfolio of high-quality U.S. farmland, while offering an attractive risk-adjusted combination of stable rental income generation and value appreciation. Our principal investment focus is on farmland located in agricultural markets throughout North America; however, we may seek to acquire farmland outside of North America in the future. We also may acquire properties related to farming, such as grain storage facilities, grain elevators, feedlots, cold storage facilities, processing plants and distribution centers, as well as livestock farms or ranches. In addition, under the FPI Loan Program, we may provide loans to farm operators secured by farmland, properties related to farming, crops (growing or stored), and/or agricultural equipment.

 

Crop Categories

 

Primary vs Specialty Crops

 

Farm crops generally can be divided into two principal categories: primary crops and specialty crops. Primary crops include, among others, corn, soybeans, wheat, rice and cotton. Specialty crops can be again divided into two categories: annual specialty crops (generally vegetables) and permanent specialty crops (fruits and nuts grown on trees, bushes or vines). Over the long term, we expect that our farmland portfolio will continue to be comprised of approximately 75% primary crop farmland and 25% specialty crop farmland by value, which we believe will give investors exposure to the increasing global food demand trend in the face of growing scarcity of high quality farmland and will reflect the approximate composition of U.S. agricultural output between primary crops and animal protein (whose production relies principally on primary crops as feed), on one hand, and specialty crops, on the other.

Annual and Permanent Crops

Our portfolio includes farms that produce both annual and permanent crops. Annual crops are planted every year whereas permanent crops, such as trees, bushes and vines, are planted and bear crops over multiple years. We believe

5


 

Table of Contents

exposure to both annual and permanent crops is an attractive strategy and offers diversification benefits to our portfolio. Annual and permanent crops typically serve different end-markets and generally have uncorrelated pricing.

 

U.S. Farmland Property

 

We believe that the United States offers farmland investors exposure to financial benefits driven by the fundamentals of agricultural production and farmland appreciation without many of the risks that come with farmland investments in many other countries. In the United States, the farmland market is relatively liquid and there is virtually no land title risk. The United States has the largest, lowest-cost grain transportation infrastructure in the world, leaving more margin to the grain producer and landowner. Moreover, the United States is one of the largest domestic markets for commodity crops, which are typically priced in U.S. dollars. Lastly, we believe that in most major U.S. agricultural markets, multiple quality farm-operator tenants compete for farmland lease opportunities.

 

We may consider investing in farmland in other countries that, like the United States, offer virtually no land title risk, a sophisticated farm-operator tenant environment and attractive rental rates, such as Canada, Australia or New Zealand.

 

Leased Properties

 

Farming carries materially more operating risk than owning and leasing farmland, although such risk can be mitigated through crop insurance and other risk management tools. We expect to continue to lease a majority of our properties on a fixed-rent basis that does not depend on the success of the tenant's farming operations. Moreover, a majority of the leases in our portfolio provide that at least 50% (and often 100%) of the annual rent is due and payable in advance of each spring planting season, and we expect that a majority of the fixed-rent leases we enter into in the future will have a similar requirement, which reduces our credit-risk exposure in the event of operational issues with the farm-operator tenant. However, to the extent we enter into leases that do not require advance payment of 100% of the annual rent or have terms greater than one year, we may be subject to tenant credit risk and more susceptible to the risks associated with declines in the profitability of tenants’ farming operations, and we take such risk into consideration when evaluating the potential return on a farm. We may use variable-rent leases, which depend in part on crop yields and prices, in regions where such arrangements are prevalent or when we expect that such arrangements will be more profitable to us on a risk-adjusted basis. We also may utilize hybrid lease arrangements that require a modest rent payment at lease inception and an additional rent payment based on a percentage of the revenue from the tenant's harvest for that year.

 

We expect to continue to lease the majority of our primary crop farmland and other farming related properties under leases that require the tenant to either pay or reimburse us for substantially all of the property’s operating expenses, including maintenance, water usage and insurance. Consistent with industry practices, we expect that we will generally be responsible for plantings and associated improvements on our permanent crop farmland while our tenants will be responsible for all operating costs. Several of our leases provide for the reimbursement by the tenant of the property’s real estate taxes that we pay in connection with the farms they rent from us. The rental payments we receive from the farm operators are the primary source of any distributions that we make to our stockholders.

 

We expect that over time rental income will increase. Most farmland in the areas where we own or intend to acquire land is leased under short-term leases (typically five years or less), and we plan to lease our properties under short-term leases when possible. By entering into short-term leases, we believe we will be in a position to increase our rental rates when the leases expire and are renewed or the land is re-leased, if prevailing rental rates have increased. However, we can provide no assurances that we will be able to increase our rental rates, or even maintain them at the same level, when the leases are renewed or the land is re-leased.

 

We believe quality farmland has a near-zero vacancy rate, and we believe that high-quality farmland in an area with a competitive tenant environment is generally leased and farmed each year. For leases that provide that a substantial portion of rental payments for a crop year are due in advance of the spring planting season, in the event of a tenant's failure to pay rent when due, we will seek to terminate the lease and rent the property to another tenant that could then plant and harvest a crop that year. As a result, we believe there is a reduced risk of vacancy on our properties when compared to most other types of commercial properties, such as office buildings or retail properties.

 

6


 

Table of Contents

Tenants

 

We believe the areas where we own and intend to acquire farmland are characterized by a competitive farm-operator tenant environment, with multiple experienced farm operators seeking to expand their operations by leasing additional farmland.

 

Non-Farming Leases

 

In addition to leases entered into in connection with farming operations, we seek additional sources of income from our properties that are either incremental, such as wind easements and recreational leases, or are higher than farming rents, such as leases for solar power installations. While we do not believe that such other sources of income will constitute a significant percentage of our total revenues, they offer opportunities to enhance returns to stockholders at little or no cost to us.

 

Family-Owned Properties

 

According to the USDA, as of 2017, approximately 96% of farms in the United States were owned by families. We believe that many farm families and individuals may wish to simultaneously sell some of their property and lease it back, continuing their operation of such property under a leasing arrangement. Sellers in these sale-leaseback transactions can use the sale proceeds to repay existing indebtedness, for growth of their farming operations or in other business endeavors. Under some circumstances, these sale-leaseback transactions might be driven by estate planning reasons. We believe that the farmland that we acquire and do not simultaneously lease back to the seller can be leased at attractive rental rates to other farm operators.

 

As an alternative to selling their farmland to us in an all-cash transaction, we believe that many farm owners may be interested in selling their farmland to us in exchange for Partnership units in order to have an equity interest in our company and participate in any appreciation in value of our properties. By making such an exchange, these farm owners would become investors in a more diversified portfolio of agricultural real estate. Under certain circumstances, the exchange of real estate for Partnership units is a tax-deferred exchange under U.S. federal income tax laws. In addition, because we intend to make cash distributions quarterly or annually, Partnership unit holders would receive regular cash distributions. Finally, Partnership unit holders would have the flexibility to tender their Partnership units in the future for redemption by us for cash, or, at our election, shares of our common stock that they could then sell in the public market, thereby allowing these sellers to determine the timing of recognizing taxable gain. Because we expect the issuance of Partnership units in exchange for farmland generally will be driven by the desires of prospective sellers, we do not know how frequently we will issue Partnership units in exchange for farmland properties. However, we believe that using Partnership units as acquisition consideration can be a significant part of our property acquisition strategy.

 

Other Investments

 

In addition to farmland, we also may acquire properties related to farming, such as grain storage facilities, grain elevators, feedlots, cold storage facilities, processing plants and distribution centers, as well as livestock properties.

 

Underwriting Criteria and Due Diligence Process

 

Selecting the Property

 

We seek to acquire high quality farmland that offers an attractive risk-adjusted balance of current returns and appreciation potential. We believe our management team’s deep understanding of agribusiness fundamentals and insight into factors affecting the value of farmland allow us to identify properties consistent with our investment criteria. We believe the following factors are important in the selection of farmland:

 

·

Soil Quality—Soil quality is a fundamental determinant of farmland productivity and therefore of its value. In considering farmland for purchase, we take soil quality into consideration to determine whether the farmland is attractively priced. In general, we focus on farmland with average or better-than-average soil. 

7


 

Table of Contents

 

·

Water Availability—Appropriate water availability is an essential input to farming and key consideration in determining the productivity and value of farmland. We seek to acquire farmland where water availability through precipitation and irrigation meets the agronomic needs of the crops expected to be grown. As part of our acquisition due diligence process, we evaluate properties for water availability and any associated ground or surface water rights. Where appropriate, we may also invest in irrigation infrastructure to improve the productivity of properties we own. Occasionally we may acquire farmland at prices that more than compensate us for any potential reduction in water availability, which, in the future may result in a shift to different crops or production systems.

 

·

Robust and Competitive Tenant Environment—We focus primarily on farmland located in areas characterized by a robust and competitive tenant environment, with a relatively large population of experienced farm operators as potential tenants. 

 

·

Market Access—Due to the higher costs of road transportation, the location of primary crop farmland relative to points of demand (e.g., grain elevators, feedlots and ethanol plants) or access to low-cost transportation (e.g., river ports and rail loading facilities) determines the premium or discount in farm-gate commodity prices compared to the general market prices (also known as “basis”), and therefore is one of the factors that impacts its value. We focus on acquiring primary crop farmland in areas with substantial farming infrastructure and low transportation costs, including markets with access to river and rail transportation.

 

·

Climate—Crops have particular climatic growing requirements. As such, we seek to acquire properties in regions with climates conducive to the expected crops. We believe that diversification within and across core farming regions and crop types provides significant annual and long-term risk mitigation to our investors.

 

We perform a due diligence review with respect to each potential property acquisition. The due diligence investigation includes both property-specific factors (e.g., soil types and fertility, water availability and rights, topographical characteristics and property taxes) and location-specific factors (e.g., climate, tenant availability and quality, and market access). As part of our due diligence process, we also perform a valuation of each target property and estimate expected lease rates.

 

Selecting Tenants

 

We intend to continue to focus primarily on farm properties located in areas with a robust and competitive environment of experienced tenants. In general, the tenant selection process focuses primarily on candidates' experience and reputation based upon background and reference checks of potential tenants, as well as their willingness and ability to pay competitive rental rates. We consider similar factors in analyzing sale-leaseback transactions. In geographic areas where we already own one or more properties, we may give our existing local tenants priority consideration, especially in exchange for sourcing a property acquisition opportunity. We often mitigate tenant credit risk by requiring a significant portion of a year's rent in advance of each planting season whenever possible, by requiring a tenant to adopt crop insurance, and/or by securing agricultural or statutory liens on growing crops. In addition, we monitor our existing tenants by periodically conducting site visits of the farms and meeting with the tenants to discuss their farming operations and the condition of the farms. However, in some circumstances, we may be exposed to tenant credit risk and may be subject to farming operation risks, such as adverse weather conditions and declines in commodity prices, particularly with respect to leases that do not require advance payment of 100% of the annual rent, variable-rent leases for which the rent is based on a percentage of a tenant's farming revenues and leases with terms greater than one year. See "Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business and Properties.” We do not intend to continuously monitor and evaluate tenant credit quality and may be subject to risks associated with our tenants' financial condition and liquidity position.

 

FPI Loan Program

 

We believe that our existing systems and personnel are well suited to source, diligence, close and manage loans under the FPI Loan Program at little or no additional cost to us. We believe that the business of making loans to farm operators secured by farmland,  properties related to farmland, crops (growing or stored), and/or agricultural equipment is highly

8


 

Table of Contents

complementary to, and synergistic with, our core business of investing in farmland. We generally find potential borrowers during the process of sourcing farm acquisitions. We conduct due diligence on loan collateral the same way we conduct due diligence on potential farm acquisitions, and we screen potential borrowers the same way we screen potential tenants. The FPI Loan Program offering gives us an increased visibility in the marketplace, thereby benefiting our core farmland investing business.

 

Seasonality

 

Because the leases for many of the properties in our portfolio require significant payments in advance of the spring planting season, we receive a significant portion of our fixed cash rental payments in the first calendar quarter of each year, although we recognize rental revenue from these leases on a pro rata basis over the non-cancellable term of the lease in accordance with GAAP.  We receive a significant portion of our variable rental payments in the fourth calendar quarter of each year, following harvest, with only a portion of such payments being recognized ratably through the year in accordance with GAAP, in relation to crop insurance contracts entered into by our tenants. The highly seasonal nature of the agriculture industry causes seasonality in our business to some extent. Our financial performance should be evaluated on an annual basis, which eliminates quarterly performance variability due to crop share revenues, lease periods not matching fiscal years, and other similar factors that may cause our quarterly results to vary during the course of the year.

 

Our Properties

 

As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we own approximately 162,000 total acres of farmland. During the year ended December 31, 2018, the Company completed six acquisitions which were accounted for as asset acquisitions in Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina and Illinois. Consideration totaled $33.8 million and was comprised of cash. Also during the year ended December 31, 2018 the Company completed five dispositions in Texas, Illinois and Louisiana. Cash receipts on these dispositions totaled $31.9 million with a total gain of $3.1 million. See “Managements’ Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for more information about our portfolio. The distribution of farms by regions is as follows:

 

 

 

 

Region

 

Total Acres

Corn Belt

 

45,933

Delta + South

 

26,846

High Plains

 

31,279

Southeast

 

46,196

West Coast

 

11,586

 

 

161,840

 

Corn Belt includes farms located in Illinois, Michigan and eastern Nebraska. Delta and South includes farms located in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. High Plains includes farms located in Colorado, Kansas, western Nebraska, South Dakota and Texas. Southeast includes farms located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. West Coast includes farms located in California.

 

As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, our portfolio has the following rents or rent estimates for 2019 by lease type or status. This table does not include additional rents from properties not yet put in service due to improvement projects, loan interest income from loans outstanding under the FPI Loan Program, and other revenues:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

($ in thousands)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lease Type or Status - as of the date of this Annual Report

    

2019 Rent

    

%

 

Leases in place with third parties

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed rent (1)

 

$

35,761

 

73.8

%

Variable rent (2)

 

 

11,418

 

23.6

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leases being negotiated (3)

 

 

1,298

 

2.6

%

 

 

$

48,477

 

100.0

%

Tenant Reimbursements

 

 

3,795

 

 

 

 

 

$

52,272

 

 

 


(1)

Includes the fixed rent portion of leases providing for fixed and variable rent components.

(2)

Management estimate based on farms’ historical productivity and regional crop price projections. We can provide no assurance that crop yields and prices will reach expected levels or that we will obtain the rents we anticipate.

9


 

Table of Contents

(3)

Management estimate based on the current status of lease negotiations and the current leasing market environment for each farm. We can provide no assurance that the rents we obtain will reflect the current status of our lease negotiations or the current leasing market environment for each farm.

 

Tax Status

 

We elected and qualified to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes commencing with our short taxable year ended December 31, 2014. Our qualification as a REIT will depend upon our ability to meet, on a continuing basis, through actual investment and operating results, various complex requirements under the Code, relating to, among other things, the sources of our gross income, the composition and values of our assets, our distribution levels and the diversity of ownership of our capital stock. We believe that we are organized in conformity with the requirements for qualification as a REIT under the Code and that our intended manner of operation will enable us to meet the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

 

As a REIT, we generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income that we distribute to our stockholders. Under the Code, REITs are subject to numerous organizational and operational requirements, including a requirement that they distribute on an annual basis at least 90% of their REIT taxable income, determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding any net capital gains. If we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT in any taxable year and do not qualify for certain statutory relief provisions, our income for that year will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates, and we would be disqualified from taxation as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which we ceased to qualify as a REIT. Even if we qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we may still be subject to state and local taxes on our income and assets and to U.S. federal income and excise taxes on our undistributed income. Additionally, any income earned by FPI Agribusiness Inc., our taxable REIT subsidiary, and any other taxable REIT subsidiaries that we form or acquire in the future will be fully subject to U.S. federal, state and local corporate income tax.

 

Insurance

 

Under the terms and conditions of the leases on our current properties, tenants are generally required, at their expense, to obtain and keep in full force during the term of the lease, liability and property damage insurance policies and to name us an additional insured party. These policies include liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage arising out of the ownership, use, occupancy or maintenance of the properties and all of their appurtenant areas. In addition to our tenants' insurance policies under which we will be an additional insured party, we also maintain comprehensive liability and casualty insurance covering all of our properties under a blanket insurance policy, which provides coverage to the extent there is insufficient coverage under our tenants' policies. The terms of leases that include variable rent payments generally require the tenant to carry crop insurance protecting against crop failures and crop price declines.

 

Regulation

 

Farming Regulations

 

The farmland that we own and intend to acquire is used for growing crops and is subject to the laws, ordinances and regulations of state, local and federal governments, including laws, ordinances and regulations involving land use and usage, water rights, treatment methods, disturbance, the environment and eminent domain.

 

Farmland is principally subject to environmental and agricultural laws, ordinances and regulations. Each governmental jurisdiction has its own distinct laws, ordinances and regulations governing the use of farmland. Many such laws, ordinances and regulations seek to regulate water usage and water runoff because water can be in limited supply, as is the case where certain of the properties in our portfolio are located.

 

All of the farms in our portfolio have sources of water, including expected precipitation, wells and/or surface water, that currently provide sufficient amounts of water necessary for the current farming operations at each location. However, should the need arise for additional water from wells and/or surface water sources, such permits and approvals may be difficult to obtain in areas with limited supply of available water. We believe that as of the date of this Annual Report on

10


 

Table of Contents

Form 10-K our farms are in compliance with applicable state, county and federal environmental and agricultural regulations.

 

In addition to the regulation of water usage and water runoff, state, local and federal governments also seek to regulate the type, quantity and method of use of chemicals and materials for growing crops, including fertilizers, pesticides and nutrient rich materials. Such regulations could include restricting or preventing the use of such chemicals and materials near residential housing or near water sources. Further, some regulations have strictly forbidden or significantly limited the use of certain chemicals and materials.

 

As an owner of farmland, we may be liable or responsible for the actions or inactions of our tenants with respect to these laws, regulations and ordinances.

 

Real Estate Industry Regulation

 

Generally, the ownership and operation of real properties is subject to various laws, ordinances and regulations, including regulations relating to zoning, land use, water rights, wastewater, storm water runoff and lien sale rights and procedures. These laws, ordinances or regulations, such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Compensation Liability Act (“CERCLA”) and its state analogs, or any changes to any such laws, ordinances or regulations, could result in or increase the potential liability for environmental conditions or circumstances existing, or created by tenants or others, on our properties. Laws related to upkeep, safety and taxation requirements may result in significant unanticipated expenditures, loss of our properties or other impairments to operations, any of which would adversely affect our cash flows from operating activities.

 

Environmental Matters

 

As an owner of real estate, we will be subject to various federal, state and local environmental laws, regulations and ordinances and also could be liable to third parties resulting from environmental contamination or noncompliance at our properties. Environmental laws often impose liability without regard to whether the owner or operator knew of or was responsible for the presence of the contaminants. The costs of any required investigation or cleanup of these substances could be substantial. The liability is generally not limited under such laws and could exceed the property’s value and the aggregate assets of the liable party. The presence of contamination or the failure to remediate contamination at our properties also may expose us to third-party liability for personal injury or property damage or adversely affect our ability to lease the real property or to borrow using the real estate as collateral. These and other risks related to environmental matters are described in more detail in “Item 1A. Risk Factors.”

 

Competition

 

Competition to our efforts to acquire farmland can come from many different entities. Individual farmers are the most active buyers of farmland. Institutional investors, investment funds, other farmland REITs, individual investors and others also compete for farmland acreage. Investment firms that we might compete directly against could include agricultural investment firms such as Westchester Agriculture Asset Management (a TIAA company), Hancock Agricultural Investment Group, International Farming Corporation, Ceres Partners, Gladstone Land Corp, and UBS Agrivest, LLC. These firms engage in the acquisition, asset management, valuation and disposition of farmland properties.

 

Employees

 

At March 8, 2019, we had 13 employees. None of our employees is a member of a labor union.

 

Corporate Information

 

Our executive offices are located at 4600 South Syracuse Street, Suite 1450, Denver, Colorado 80237. Our telephone number at our executive offices is (720) 452-3100 and our corporate website is www.farmlandpartners.com. The information on, or accessible through, our website is not incorporated into and does not constitute a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any other report or document we file with or furnish to the SEC.

11


 

Table of Contents

 

Available Information

 

We file our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to those reports with the SEC. You may obtain copies of these documents by accessing the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. In addition, as soon as reasonably practicable after such materials are furnished to the SEC, we make copies of these documents available to the public free of charge through our website or by contacting our Secretary at the address set forth above under “—Corporate Information.” 

 

Our Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, and the charters of our audit committee, compensation committee and nominating and corporate governance committee are all available in the Governance Documents section of the Corporate Information section of our website.

 

Financial Information

 

For required financial information related to our operations, please refer to our consolidated financial statements, including the notes thereto, included within this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors

 

Set forth below are the risks that we believe are material to our stockholders. You should carefully consider the following risks in evaluating our Company and our business. The occurrence of any of the following risks could materially adversely impact our financial condition, results of operations, cash flow, the market price of shares of our common stock and our ability to, among other things, satisfy our debt service obligations and to make distributions to our stockholders, which in turn could cause our stockholders to lose all or a part of their investment. Some statements in this report including statements in the following risk factors constitute forward-looking statements. Please refer to the section entitled “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” at the beginning of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Risks Related to Our Business and Properties

 

Our business is dependent in part upon the profitability of our tenants' farming operations, and a sustained downturn in the profitability of their farming operations could have a material adverse effect on the amount of rent we can collect and, consequently, our cash flow and ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

We depend on our tenants to operate the farms we own in a manner that generates revenues sufficient to allow them to meet their obligations to us, including their obligations to pay rent and real estate taxes, maintain certain insurance coverage and maintain the properties generally. The ability of our tenants to fulfill their obligations under our leases depends, in part, upon the overall profitability of their farming operations, which could be adversely impacted by, among other things, adverse weather conditions, crop prices, crop disease, pests, and unfavorable or uncertain political, economic, business or regulatory conditions. We are susceptible to any decline in the profitability of our tenants' farming operations for our variable-rent leases, pursuant to which the amount of rent depends on crop yields and prices realized by our tenants, as well as for our leases with terms longer than one year. In addition, many farms are dependent on a limited number of key individuals whose injury or death may affect the successful operation of the farm. We can provide no assurances that, if a tenant defaults on its obligations to us under a lease, we will be able to lease or re-lease that farm on economically favorable terms in a timely manner, or at all. In addition, we may experience delays in enforcing our rights as landlord and may incur substantial costs in protecting our investment.

 

As a result, any downturn in the profitability of the farming operations of our tenants or a downturn in the farming industry as a whole could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flow and ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

12


 

Table of Contents

We have a substantial amount of indebtedness outstanding, which may expose us to the risk of default under our debt obligations, restrict our operations and our ability to grow our business and revenues and restrict our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders.

 

As of December 31, 2018 and March 8, 2019, we had approximately $525.3 million and $525.3 million, respectively, of outstanding indebtedness, all of which is secured by mortgages on our farms. We intend to incur additional debt in connection with future acquisitions or for other purposes and, if necessary, we may borrow funds to make distributions to our stockholders in order to qualify and maintain our qualification as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. To the extent that we do not have sufficient funds to repay our debt at maturity, it may be necessary to refinance the debt through new debt or equity financings, which may not be available on acceptable terms or at all and which could be dilutive to our stockholders. If we are unable to refinance our debt on acceptable terms or at all, we may be forced to dispose of farms at inopportune times or on disadvantageous terms, which could result in losses. In addition, our debt agreements include customary events of default, the occurrence of any of which, after any applicable cure period, would permit the lenders to, among other things, accelerate payment of all amounts outstanding under the loans and to exercise their remedies with respect to the collateral, including foreclosure and sale of the agricultural real estate securing the loans. Certain of our debt agreements also contain cross-default provisions that give the lender the right, in certain circumstances, to declare a default if we are in default under other loans. If any one of these events were to occur, our financial condition, results of operations, cash flow and ability to pay distributions to our stockholders could be materially and adversely affected.

We are currently subject to, and may in the future be subject to, litigation or threatened litigation, which may divert management time and attention, require us to pay damages and expenses or restrict the operation of our business. 

   

We are currently subject to, and may be subject in the future, to litigation or threatened litigation, including claims relating to the actions of our tenants, claims brought by shareholders, and otherwise in the ordinary course of business.  In particular, we are subject to the risk of complaints by our tenants involving premises liability claims and alleged violations of landlord-tenant laws, which may give rise to litigation or governmental investigations, as well as claims and litigation relating to real estate rights or uses of our properties. We are also subject to shareholder litigation and subject to a risk of additional shareholder litigation in the future.  Some of the pending and potential future claims against the company may result in significant defense costs and potentially significant judgments against us, some of which are not, may not be, or cannot be, insured against. Additionally, whether or not any dispute actually proceeds to litigation, we may be required to devote significant management time and attention to its successful resolution (through litigation, settlement or otherwise), which would detract from our management's ability to focus on our business. Any such resolution could involve the payment of damages or expenses by us, which may be significant, or involve our agreement with terms that restrict the operation of our business. We generally intend to vigorously defend ourselves; however, we cannot be certain of the ultimate outcomes of pending claims against the Company or of those claims that may arise in the future. Resolution of these types of matters against us may result in our having to pay significant fines, judgments, or settlements, which, if uninsured, or if the fines, judgments, and settlements exceed insured levels, could adversely impact our earnings and cash flows, thereby having an adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and our ability to pay distributions on, and the per share trading price of, our common stock. Certain litigation or the resolution of certain litigation may affect the availability or cost of some of our insurance coverage and could expose us to increased risks that would be uninsured, and/or adversely impact our ability to attract officers and directors, which could adversely impact our results of operations, cash flows and our ability to pay distributions on, and the value of, our common and preferred stock.  

 

Approximately 75% of our portfolio is comprised of properties used to grow primary crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, rice and cotton, which subjects us to risks associated with primary row crops.

 

By value, approximately 75% of our portfolio is used for primary crops, such as corn, soybeans, wheat, rice and cotton. As a result, any development or situation that adversely affects the value of properties generally or the prices of corn, soybeans, wheat, rice or cotton could have a more significant adverse impact on us than if our portfolio had less exposure to primary crops, which could materially and adversely impact our financial condition, results of operations and ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

13


 

Table of Contents

Investments in farmland used for permanent/specialty crops have a different risk profile than farmland used for annual row crops.

By value, approximately 25% of our portfolio is used for permanent crops, and, in the future, we may add to our investments in farmland used for permanent crops, as opposed to annual row crops. Permanent crops have plant structures (such as trees, vines or bushes) that produce yearly crops without being replanted. Examples include blueberries, oranges, apples, almonds and grapes. Permanent crops require more time and capital to plant and bear fruit and are more expensive to replace. If a farmer loses a permanent/specialty crop to drought, flooding, fire or disease, there generally would be significant time and capital needed to return the land to production because a tree or vine may take years to grow before bearing fruit.

Permanent crop plantings also reduce a farmer’s ability to adapt to changing market conditions by changing crops. If demand for one type of permanent crop decreases, the permanent crop farmer cannot easily convert the farm to another type of crop because permanent crop farmland is dedicated to one crop during the lifespan of the trees or vines and therefore cannot easily be rotated to adapt to changing environmental or market conditions.

 

Our failure to continue to identify and consummate suitable acquisitions would significantly impede our growth and our ability to further diversify our portfolio by geography, crop type and tenant, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and cash available for distribution to our stockholders.

 

Our ability to continue to expand through acquisitions is important to our business strategy and requires that we identify and consummate suitable acquisition or investment opportunities that meet our investment criteria and are compatible with our growth strategy. We compete for the acquisition of farmland and properties related to farming with many other entities engaged in agricultural and real estate investment activities, including individual and family operators of farming businesses, corporate agriculture companies, financial institutions, institutional pension funds, public REITS, other real estate companies, private equity funds and other private real estate investors. These competitors may prevent us from acquiring desirable properties or may cause an increase in the price we must pay for such properties. Our competitors may adopt transaction structures similar to ours, which would decrease our competitive advantage in offering flexible transaction terms. In addition, the number of entities and the amount of funds competing for suitable investment properties may increase, resulting in increased demand and increased prices paid for these properties. If we pay higher prices for properties, our profitability may decrease, and you may experience a lower return on your investment. Our failure to identify and consummate suitable acquisitions would significantly impede our growth, which would adversely affect our results of operations and cash available for distribution to our stockholders.

 

Failure to succeed in new markets may have adverse consequences.

 

We intend to continue to acquire properties across the U.S. and may from time to time evaluate potential international acquisitions. When we acquire properties located in new geographic areas in the U.S. or internationally, or properties primarily devoted to a crop or industry with which we are less familiar (such as certain specialty crops, energy production, dairy farms or hog farms), we may face risks associated with a lack of market knowledge or understanding of the local market, including the availability and identity of quality tenants, forging new business relationships in the area, developing an understanding of a crop or industry unfamiliar to us, and unfamiliarity with local or crop-specific government requirements and procedures. Furthermore, the negotiation of a potential expansion into new markets or industries may divert management time and other resources. As a result, we may have difficulties executing our business strategy in these new markets, which could have a negative impact on our results of operations and ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

We do not intend to continuously monitor and evaluate tenant credit quality and our financial performance may be subject to risks associated with our tenants' financial condition and liquidity position.

 

Certain of our leases do not require the full payment of rent in cash in advance of the planting season, which subjects us to credit risk exposure to our farm-operator tenants and the risks associated with farming operations, such as weather, commodity price fluctuations and other factors. We also are exposed to these risks with respect to leases for which the rent is based on a percentage of a tenant's farming revenues and leases with terms greater than one year. Because we do not intend to monitor and evaluate the credit risk exposure related to farm-operator tenants on an ongoing basis, we are subject

14


 

Table of Contents

to the risk that our tenants, particularly those that may depend on debt and leverage to finance their operations, could be susceptible to bankruptcy in the event that their cash flows are insufficient to satisfy their financial obligations, including meeting their obligations to us under their leases. As a result, we may not become aware of a tenant's financial distress until the tenant fails to make payments to us when due, which may significantly reduce the amount of time we have to evict the tenant and re-lease the farmland to a new tenant before the start of the spring planting season, and in the event of a tenant bankruptcy we may not be able to terminate the lease. If we are unable to re-lease the farmland on a timely basis, it could have a material adverse effect on our revenues.

 

Our short-term leases, albeit an industry standard, make us more susceptible to any decreases in prevailing market rental rates than would be the case if we entered into longer-term leases, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

Most of our leases with tenants engaged in farming operations have terms ranging from two to three years for row crops and one to seven years for permanent crops, which is customary in the farming industry. We expect that most of the leases we enter into in the future will have two to seven-year terms. As a result, we will be required to frequently re-lease our properties upon the expiration of our leases, which will make us more susceptible to declines in market rental rates than we would be if we were to enter into longer term leases. As a result, any decreases in the prevailing market rental rates in the geographic areas in which we own properties could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

We may be unable to collect balances due on our leases from any tenants in financial distress or bankruptcy, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.

 

We are subject to tenant credit risk.  Our tenants, particularly those that may depend on debt and leverage, could be susceptible to defaults under their leases or bankruptcy in the event that their cash flows are insufficient to satisfy their financial obligations.Certain of our tenants have defaulted on their lease payments, and we have been forced to pursue alternative arrangements with those tenants in order to recover amounts due under the leases. In the future, we may be forced to enter into similar alternative arrangements or pursue litigation  in order to collect payments from tenants who are unable make their lease payments as they come due. We can provide no assurances that we will be able to collect the full amount due under a particular lease if we are forced pursue alternative payment arrangements or litigation with any of our tenants. 

 

If a bankrupt tenant rejects a lease with us, any claim we might have for breach of the lease, excluding a claim against collateral securing the lease, would be treated as a general unsecured claim. In the event of a tenant's default under its lease or its rejection of the lease in bankruptcy proceedings, we may be unable to locate a replacement tenant in a timely manner or on comparable or better terms. As a result, our financial condition, results of operations and ability to make distributions to our stockholders could be adversely affected.

 

We depend on external sources of capital that are outside of our control and may not be available to us on commercially reasonable terms or at all, which could limit our ability to, among other things, acquire additional properties, meet our capital and operating needs or make the cash distributions to our stockholders necessary to maintain our qualification as a REIT.

 

In order to maintain our qualification as a REIT, we are required under the Code to, among other things, distribute annually at least 90% of our REIT taxable income, determined without regard to the dividends paid deduction and excluding any net capital gain. In addition, we will be subject to income tax at regular corporate rates to the extent that we distribute less than 100% of our REIT taxable income, including any net capital gains. Because of these distribution requirements, we may not be able to fund future capital needs, including acquisition opportunities and principal and interest payments on any outstanding debt, from operating cash flow. Consequently, we rely on third-party sources to fund our capital needs. We may not be able to obtain such financing on favorable terms, in the time period we desire, or at all. Any debt we incur will increase our leverage, expose us to the risk of default and may impose operating restrictions on us, and

15


 

Table of Contents

any additional equity we raise (including the issuance of Common or preferred units) could be dilutive to existing stockholders. Our access to third-party sources of capital depends, in part, on:

 

·

general market conditions;

·

the market's view of the quality of our assets;

·

the market's perception of our growth potential;

·

our debt levels;

·

our current and expected future earnings;

·

our cash flow and cash distributions; and

·

the market price per share of our common stock and preferred stock.

 

If we cannot obtain capital from third-party sources, we may not be able to acquire properties when strategic opportunities exist, meet the capital and operating needs of our existing properties, satisfy our debt service obligations or make the cash distributions to our stockholders necessary to qualify and maintain our qualification as a REIT.

 

Illiquidity of real estate investments could significantly impede our ability to respond to adverse changes in the performance of our properties and harm our financial condition.

 

The real estate investments made, and to be made, by us may be difficult to sell quickly. As a result, our ability to promptly sell one or more properties in our portfolio in response to liquidity needs, changing economic, financial and investment conditions may be limited or we may have to sell properties at a loss. Return of capital and realization of gains, if any, from an investment generally will occur upon disposition or refinancing of the underlying property. We may be unable to realize our investment objectives by sale, other disposition or refinancing at attractive prices within any given period of time or may otherwise be unable to complete any exit strategy. In particular, weakness in or even the lack of an established market for a property, changes in the financial condition or prospects of prospective purchasers, changes in national or international economic conditions and changes in laws, regulations or fiscal policies of jurisdictions in which the property is located, in each case may limit our ability to dispose of a property.

 

In addition, the Code imposes restrictions on a REIT's ability to dispose of properties that are not applicable to other types of real estate companies. In particular, the tax laws applicable to REITs effectively require that we hold our properties for investment, rather than primarily for sale in the ordinary course of business, which may cause us to forego or defer sales of properties that otherwise would be in our best interests. Moreover, if we acquire properties from C corporations (i.e., corporations generally subject to full corporate-level tax) in certain non-taxable transactions, as was the case with our acquisition of the Hudye Farm in 2014, built-in gain recognized on the non-taxable disposition of such properties within 5 years of our acquisition will be subject to tax at the highest applicable U.S. federal corporate income tax rate. Therefore, we may not be able to vary our portfolio in response to economic or other conditions promptly or on favorable terms.

 

Some state laws prohibit or restrict the ownership of agricultural land by business entities, which could impede the growth of our portfolio and our ability to diversify geographically.

 

Certain states, including Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kansas, in which a substantial amount of primary crop farmland is located, have laws that prohibit or restrict to varying degrees the ownership of agricultural land by corporations or business entities like us. As of December 31, 2018, we owned 1,959 acres of farmland in Kansas and 1,690 in South Dakota, and our ownership of those farms may be challenged under Kansas or South Dakota law, in which case we may be required to sell those farms at an unfavorable time and on unfavorable terms. Additional states may, in the future, pass similar or more restrictive laws, and we may not be legally permitted, or it may become overly burdensome or expensive, to acquire properties in these states, which could impede the growth of our portfolio and our ability to diversify geographically in states that might otherwise have attractive investment opportunities.

 

16


 

Table of Contents

Our farms are subject to adverse weather conditions, seasonal variability, crop disease and other contaminants, which may affect our tenants' ability to pay rent and thereby have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and our ability to make distributions to stockholders.

 

Crops are vulnerable to adverse weather conditions, including windstorms, tornados, floods, drought and temperature extremes, which are common but difficult to predict. Unfavorable growing conditions can reduce both crop yield and quality. Seasonal factors, including supply and consumer demand, may also have an effect on the value of crops grown by our tenants. In extreme cases, entire harvests may be lost in some geographic areas.

 

In addition, crops are vulnerable to disease and pests. Damages to tenants' crops may vary in severity and effect, depending on the stage of production at the time of infection or infestation, the type of treatment applied and climatic conditions. The costs to control these infestations vary depending on the severity of the damage and the extent of the plantings affected. These infestations can increase the costs and decrease the revenues of our tenants. Tenants may also incur losses from product recalls, fines or litigation due to other contaminants that may cause food borne illness. It is difficult to predict the occurrence or severity of such product recalls, fines or litigation as well as their impact upon our tenants.

 

We are particularly susceptible to adverse weather conditions (such as windstorms, tornados, floods, drought, hail and temperature extremes), transportation conditions (including navigation of the Mississippi River), crop disease, pests and other adverse growing conditions in California, Illinois, North Carolina, Colorado and Arkansas, which generate a significant portion of our revenues.

 

While many of our leases are on a fixed-rent basis that does not change based on the success of the farming operations, we also utilize variable-rent leases pursuant to which the amount of the rent depends on crop yields and prices in regions where such arrangements are prevalent. Adverse weather conditions, seasonal variability, crop disease, pests and contaminants could adversely affect the value of production on properties. This could impact our variable rent proceeds and our tenants' ability to continue to meet their obligations to us. This could have a material adverse effect on the value of our properties, our results of operations, financial condition, and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

The market prices of the crops that our tenants may produce on our agricultural properties have exhibited periods of volatility, which may affect our tenants' ability to pay rent and thereby have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and our ability to make distributions to stockholders.

 

The value of a crop is affected by many factors that can differ on a yearly basis. The unpredictability of weather and crop yields in the major crop production regions worldwide creates a significant risk of price volatility, which may either increase or decrease the value of the crops that our tenants produce each year. Other material factors adding to the volatility of crop prices are changes in government regulations and policy, fluctuations in global prosperity, fluctuations in foreign trade and export markets, and eruptions of military conflicts or civil unrest. Although rental payments under the majority of our leases typically are not based on the quality or profitability of our tenants' harvests, any of these factors could adversely affect our tenants' ability to meet their obligations to us and our ability to lease or re-lease properties on favorable terms, or at all, which could have a material adverse effect on the value of our properties, our results of operations and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

The impacts of trade disputes could adversely affect the profitability of our tenants’ farming operations, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations,  financial condition, ability to make distributions to our stockholders and the value of our properties.

 

Recent trade disputes between the United States and its primary agricultural trade partners have negatively impacted the market prices of certain crops that our tenants grow on our properties. For example, China recently announced a 25% tariff on agricultural products including soybeans, corn, wheat and other agricultural products. Prior to the trade tensions, the U.S. exported 50% of its soybean crop, and 58% of those exports were to China, worth approximately U.S. $14 billion. In light of the trade disputes with the United States, China has been sourcing its agricultural products from other markets. A reduction in crop prices could adversely affect the profitability of our tenants and negatively impact their ability to make rental payments as they come due. If we are unable to recover the rental payments, our results of operations, financial

17


 

Table of Contents

condition and ability to make distributions to our stockholders could be materially and adversely effected. If we are required to remove a tenant, we may not be able to release the property at current rental rates or at all. Furthermore, prolonged trade disputes that lead to a continuation of  depressed crop prices could materially and adversely affect the underlying value of our properties

 

Adverse changes in government policies related to farming could affect the prices of crops and the profitability of farming operations, which could materially and adversely affect the value of our properties and our results of operations.

 

There are a number of government programs that directly or indirectly affect the profitability of farm operators. These include marketing, export, renewable fuel and insurance policies and programs. Significant changes to or the elimination of programs and policies could adversely affect crop prices and the profitability of farming operations, which could materially and adversely impact the value of our farms and our ability to lease them on favorable terms, or at all, which would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

 

If the U.S. Federal Reserve or other central banks embark on a substantial tightening of monetary policy in the future that causes real interest rates to rise substantially, it may cause land prices to decline if the rise in interest rates is not accompanied by rises in the general levels of inflation.

 

A substantial tightening of monetary policy by the U.S. Federal Reserve or other central banks would increase credit costs (through the resulting increase in interest rates) and decrease credit availability. This could hurt farm operators because higher real interest rates (which is defined as nominal interest rates minus the inflation rate) make it more difficult for farm operators to qualify for loans and increase their borrowing costs. Higher interest rates also tend to decrease U.S. and world economic growth, thus decreasing the demand for agricultural commodities.

All of these consequences could reduce farm income. If increases in real interest rates are not accompanied by higher levels of farm income and rents, this could lead to declines in agricultural land values and a reduction in our profitability, either of which would have a material adverse effect on our business or results of operations, financial condition, and ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

The loss of key management personnel, particularly Paul A. Pittman and Luca Fabbri, could have a material adverse effect on our ability to implement our business strategy and to achieve our investment objectives.

 

Our future success depends to a significant extent on the continued service and coordination of our senior management team, which is comprised of Paul A. Pittman, our Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and Luca Fabbri, our Chief Financial Officer. We can provide no assurances that any of our key personnel will continue their employment with us. The loss of services of Messrs. Pittman and Fabbri could have a material adverse effect on our ability to implement our business strategy and to achieve our investment objectives.

 

Joint venture investments could be adversely affected by our lack of sole decision-making authority, our reliance on co-venturers’ financial condition and disputes between us and our co-venturers. 

 

In the future, we may co-invest with third parties through partnerships, joint ventures or other entities, acquiring noncontrolling interests in or sharing responsibility for developing properties and managing the affairs of a property, partnership, joint venture or other entity. With respect to any such arrangement or any similar arrangement that we may enter into in the future, we may not be in a position to exercise sole decision-making authority regarding the property, partnership, joint venture or other entity. Investments in partnerships, joint ventures or other entities may, under certain circumstances, involve risks not present where a third party is not involved, including the possibility that partners or co-venturers might become bankrupt or fail to fund their share of required capital contributions. Partners or co-venturers may have economic or other business interests or goals which are inconsistent with our business interests or goals and may be in a position to take actions contrary to our policies or objectives, and they may have competing interests in our markets that could create conflicts of interest. Such investments may also have the potential risk of impasses on decisions, such as a sale or financing, because neither we nor the partner(s) or co-venturer(s) would have full control over the partnership or joint venture. In addition, a sale or transfer by us to a third party of our interests in the joint venture may be subject to consent rights or rights of first refusal, in favor of our joint venture partners, which would in each case restrict our ability

18


 

Table of Contents

to dispose of our interest in the joint venture. Where we are a limited partner or non-managing member in any partnership or limited liability company, if such entity takes or expects to take actions that could jeopardize our status as a REIT or require us to pay tax, we may be forced to dispose of our interest in such entity. Disputes between us and partners or co-venturers may result in litigation or arbitration that would increase our expenses and prevent our officers and directors from focusing their time and effort on our business. Consequently, actions by or disputes with partners or co-venturers might result in subjecting properties owned by the partnership or joint venture to additional risk. In addition, we may in certain circumstances be liable for the actions of our third-party partners or co-venturers. Our joint ventures may be subject to debt and, during periods of volatile credit markets, the refinancing of such debt may require equity capital calls.

 

We will continue to incur costs as a result of becoming a public company, and such costs may increase if and when we cease to be an “emerging growth company.”

 

As a public company, we expect to continue to incur significant legal, accounting, insurance and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company, including costs associated with public company reporting requirements. The expenses incurred by public companies generally for reporting and corporate governance purposes have been increasing. We expect compliance with these public reporting requirements and associated rules and regulations to increase expenses, particularly after we are no longer an emerging growth company, although we are currently unable to estimate these costs with any degree of certainty. We could be an emerging growth company until the end of 2019, after which, we will incur additional costs applicable to public companies that are not emerging growth companies. 

 

If we fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results, which may adversely affect investor confidence in our company and, as a result, the value of our common stock.

 

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting. After we are no longer an emerging growth company under the JOBS Act, beginning with our year ending December 31, 2020, Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires our auditors to deliver an attestation report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in conjunction with their opinion on our audited financial statements. Substantial work on our part is required to implement appropriate processes, document the system of internal control over key processes, assess their design, remediate any deficiencies identified and test their operation. This process is expected to be both costly and challenging. We cannot give any assurances that material weaknesses will not be identified in the future in connection with our compliance with the provisions of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The existence of any material weakness would preclude a conclusion by management and our independent auditors that we maintained effective internal control over financial reporting. Our management may be required to devote significant time and expense to remediate any material weaknesses that may be discovered and may not be able to remediate any material weakness in a timely manner. The existence of any material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting could also result in errors in our financial statements that could require us to restate our financial statements, cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations and cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, all of which could lead to a decline in the per-share trading price of our common stock

 

Under the FPI Loan Program, we provide loans to third-party farmers, which exposes us to risks associated with being a lender, including the risk that borrowers default on their obligations to us, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

Under the FPI Loan Program, we make loans to third-party farmers (both tenant and non-tenant) to provide financing for working capital requirements and operational farming activities, farming infrastructure projects, and for other farming and agricultural real estate related purposes. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we have made seven senior secured first-lien mortgage loans secured against farmland or farm related properties and one loan secured against crop to farmers totaling $19.1 million, with $11.9 million outstanding at December 31, 2018 (representing 0.01% of our total assets as of December 31, 2018), and we intend to make similar loans under the FPI Loan Program in the future. Payments on such loans depend on the profitable operation or management of the farmland or farmland-related property securing the loan or the maintenance of any equipment securing the loan. The success of the farmland or farm-related property may be affected by many factors outside the control of the borrower, including adverse weather conditions that prevent the planting of a crop or limit crop yields, declines in market prices for agricultural products (both domestically and internationally) and the impact of government regulations (including changes in price supports, subsidies and

19


 

Table of Contents

environmental regulations). In addition, many farms are dependent on a limited number of key individuals whose injury or death may significantly affect the successful operation of the farm. If the cash flow from a farming operation is diminished, the borrower's ability to repay the loan may be impaired. If a borrower defaults under a loan for which we are the lender, we may attempt to foreclose on the collateral securing the loan, including by acquiring title to the subject property, crops, or equipment, to protect our investment. In response, the defaulting borrower may contest our enforcement of foreclosure or other available remedies, seek bankruptcy protection against our exercise of enforcement or other available remedies, or bring claims against us for lender liability. If a defaulting borrower seeks bankruptcy protection, the automatic stay provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code would preclude us from enforcing foreclosure or other available remedies against the borrower unless relief is first obtained from the court with jurisdiction over the bankruptcy case. In addition, we may be subject to intercreditor agreements that delay, impact, govern or limit our ability to foreclose on a lien securing a loan or otherwise delay or limit our pursuit of our rights and remedies. Any such delay or limit on our ability to pursue our rights or remedies could adversely affect our business, results of operations and ability to make distributions to our stockholders. In the event of a foreclosure, we may assume direct ownership of the underlying farm. Even if we successfully foreclose on the collateral securing our mortgage loans, foreclosure-related costs, high loan-to-value ratios or declines in property values could prevent us from realizing the full amount of our mortgage loans, and we could be required to record a valuation allowance for such losses.

 

Liability for uninsured or underinsured losses could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and cash flow.

 

Our properties may be damaged by adverse weather conditions and natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and tornados. Our insurance may not be adequate to cover all damages or losses from these events, or we may view it as not economically prudent to purchase insurance for certain types of losses. Should an uninsured loss occur, we could lose our capital investment or anticipated profits and cash flows from one or more properties. If any such loss is insured, we may be required to pay a significant deductible on any claim for recovery of such a loss prior to our insurer being obligated to reimburse us for the loss, or the amount of the loss may exceed our coverage for the loss, which could have an adverse effect on our cash flow.

 

A cybersecurity incident and other technology disruptions could result in a violation of law or negatively impact our reputation and relationships with our tenants, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and our financial condition.

 

Information and security risks have generally increased in recent years due to the rise in new technologies and the increased sophistication and activities of perpetrators of cyber-attacks. We use computers in substantially all aspects of our business operations, and we also use mobile devices and other online activities to connect with our employees and tenants. Such uses give rise to cybersecurity risks, including security breach, espionage, system disruption, theft and inadvertent release of information. Our business involves the storage and transmission of numerous classes of sensitive and/or confidential information and intellectual property, including tenants’, suppliers’ and employees’ personally identifiable information and financial and strategic information about us.

 

If we fail to assess and identify cybersecurity risks associated with our operations, we may become increasingly vulnerable to such risks. Even the most well protected information, networks, systems and facilities remain potentially vulnerable because the techniques used in such attempted security breaches evolve and generally are not recognized until launched against a target, and in some cases are designed not to be detected and, in fact, may not be detected. Accordingly, we and our suppliers may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate security barriers or other preventative measures, and thus it is impossible for us and our suppliers to entirely mitigate this risk. Further, in the future we may be required to expend additional resources to continue to enhance information security measures and/or to investigate and remediate any information security vulnerabilities. We can provide no assurances that the measures we have implemented to prevent security breaches and cyber incidents will be effective in the event of a cyber-attack.

 

The theft, destruction, loss, misappropriation or release of sensitive and/or confidential information or intellectual property, or interference with our information technology systems or the technology systems of third-parties on which we rely, could result in business disruption, negative publicity, violation of privacy laws, loss of tenants, potential liability

20


 

Table of Contents

and competitive disadvantage, any of which could result in a material adverse effect on financial condition or results of operations.

 

Potential liability for environmental matters could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

We are subject to the risk of liabilities under federal, state and local environmental laws applicable to agricultural properties, including those related to wetlands, groundwater and water runoff. Some of these laws could subject us to:

 

·

responsibility and liability for the cost of removal or remediation of hazardous substances released on our properties, generally without regard to our knowledge of or responsibility for the presence of the contaminants;

·

liability for the costs of investigation, removal or remediation of hazardous substances or chemical releases at disposal facilities for persons who arrange for the disposal or treatment of these substances; and

·

potential liability for claims by third parties for damages resulting from environmental contaminants.

 

Environmental site assessments were not conducted on all the farms in our portfolio and we do not expect to conduct environment site assessments on all farms we acquire in the future. Our costs of investigation, remediation or removal of hazardous substances may be substantial. In addition, the presence of hazardous substances on one of our properties, or the failure to properly remediate a contaminated property, could adversely affect our ability to sell or lease the property or to borrow using the property as collateral. We may be subject to common law claims by third parties based on damages and costs resulting from environmental contamination emanating from the property. Additionally, we could become subject to new, stricter environmental regulations, which could diminish the utility of our properties and have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.

 

We may be required to permit the owners of certain third-party access rights on our properties to enter and occupy parts of the properties, including owners of mineral rights and power generation and transportation infrastructure, which could materially and adversely impact the rental value of our properties.

 

Although we own the surface rights to our farms and expect to own the surface rights to properties that we acquire, other persons or entities may own third-party access rights on our properties based upon their ownership of certain minerals, power generation and transportation infrastructure or similar property rights. Some of these third-party access rights, such as those related to oil, water or natural gas may be located under the surfaces of these properties, while others, particularly those third-party access rights related to power generation and transportation infrastructure such as wind turbines or oil pipelines, may be located on or above the surfaces of these properties. For example, in connection with our acquisition of the Hudye Farm, we granted the seller 50% of the mineral rights related to the farm. Currently there is no mineral development or significant power generation and transportation infrastructure on the farms in our portfolio other than on properties for which we own the rights, but we can provide no assurances that third parties will not assert claims for mineral rights, third-party access rights related to power generation and transportation infrastructure and other related property rights on the farms in our portfolio or that farmland that we acquire in the future will not be subject to these third-party access rights. To the extent that third parties have third-party rights on farmland that we currently own or acquire in the future, we expect that we would be required to permit third parties to enter our properties for the purpose of such activities as drilling and operating oil or gas wells, operating and maintaining oil pipelines and operating and maintaining wind turbines on the premises. We may also be required to set aside a reasonable portion of the surface area of our properties to accommodate these operations. The devotion of a portion of our properties to these operations would reduce the amount of the surface available for farming or farm-related uses. Such activities might also disrupt the productivity of the farmland or property related to farming or increase the risk of environmental liabilities, any of which could adversely impact the rents that we receive from leasing these properties.

 

21


 

Table of Contents

Increases in mortgage rates or unavailability of mortgage debt may make it difficult for us to finance or refinance our debt, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, growth prospects and our ability to make distributions to stockholders.

 

If mortgage debt is unavailable to us at reasonable rates or at all, we may not be able to finance the purchase of additional properties or refinance existing debt when it becomes due. If interest rates are higher when we refinance our debt, our income and cash flow could be reduced, which would reduce cash available for distribution to our stockholders and may hinder our ability to raise more capital by issuing more stock or by borrowing more money.

 

Mortgage debt obligations expose us to the possibility of foreclosure, which could result in the loss of our investment in a property or group of properties subject to mortgage debt.

 

As of December 31, 2018 and March 8, 2019, we had approximately $525.3 million and $525.3 million, respectively, of outstanding mortgage indebtedness excluding debt issuance costs. We intend to finance future property acquisitions, in part, with mortgage indebtedness. Mortgage and other secured debt obligations increase our risk of property losses because defaults on indebtedness secured by properties may result in foreclosure actions initiated by lenders and ultimately our loss of the property securing any loans for which we are in default. Any foreclosure on a mortgaged property or group of properties could adversely affect the overall value of our portfolio of properties. For tax purposes, a foreclosure on any of our properties that is subject to a nonrecourse mortgage loan would be treated as a sale of the property for a purchase price equal to the outstanding balance of the debt secured by the mortgage. If the outstanding balance of the debt secured by the mortgage exceeds our tax basis in the property, we would recognize taxable income on foreclosure, but would not receive any cash proceeds, which could hinder our ability to meet the REIT distribution requirements imposed by the Code.

 

Our debt financing agreements restrict our ability to engage in certain business activities, including our ability to incur additional indebtedness, make capital expenditures and make certain investments.

 

Our existing debt financing agreements contain, and other debt financing agreements we may enter into in the future may contain, customary negative covenants and other financial and operating covenants that, among other things:

 

·

restrict our ability to incur additional indebtedness;

·

restrict our ability to incur additional liens;

·

restrict our ability to make certain investments (including certain capital expenditures);

·

restrict our ability to merge with another company;

·

restrict our ability to sell or dispose of assets;

·

restrict our ability to make distributions to stockholders; and

·

require us to satisfy minimum financial coverage ratios, minimum tangible net worth requirements and maximum leverage ratios.

 

Changes to the base rate on our floating rate indebtedness could increase our borrowing costs.

A substantial portion of our outstanding indebtedness bears interest at floating rates based on the London interbank offered rate (“LIBOR”). In July 2017, the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates LIBOR, announced that it will stop compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. It is not possible to predict the effect of these changes, other reforms or the establishment of alternative reference rates. The discontinuation or modification of LIBOR could result in interest rate increases on our debt, which could adversely affect our cash flow, operating results and ability to make distributions to our stockholders at expected levels or at all.

 

Risks Related to Our Organizational Structure

 

We may be subject to unknown or contingent liabilities related to acquired properties and properties that we may acquire in the future, which could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

Properties that we have acquired, including the properties we acquired in our acquisition of American Farmland Company (the “AFCO Mergers”), and properties that we may acquire in the future, may be subject to unknown or contingent liabilities for which we may have no recourse, or only limited recourse, against the sellers. In general, the

22


 

Table of Contents

representations and warranties provided under the transaction agreements related to the purchase of properties that we acquire may not survive the completion of the transactions. Furthermore, indemnification under such agreements may be limited and subject to various materiality thresholds, a significant deductible or an aggregate cap on losses. As a result, there is no guarantee that we will recover any amounts with respect to losses due to breaches by the sellers of their representations and warranties. In addition, the total amount of costs and expenses that may be incurred with respect to liabilities associated with these properties may exceed our expectations, and we may experience other unanticipated adverse effects, all of which may materially and adversely affect us.

 

Conflicts of interest may exist or could arise in the future between the interests of our stockholders and the interests of holders of units in our operating partnership, which may impede business decisions that could benefit our stockholders.

 

Although holders of our Common units do not have voting rights or the power to direct the Company's affairs, there could be potential conflicts, conflicts of interest may exist or could arise in the future as a result of the relationships between us and our affiliates, on the one hand, and our operating partnership or any partner thereof. 

 

Our directors and officers have duties to our company under Maryland law in connection with their management of our company. At the same time, our wholly owned subsidiary, Farmland Partners OP GP, LLC, as the general partner of our operating partnership, has fiduciary duties and obligations to our operating partnership and its limited partners under Delaware law and the partnership agreement in connection with the management of our operating partnership. The general partner's fiduciary duties and obligations as the general partner of our operating partnership may come into conflict with the duties of our directors and officers to our company. These conflicts of interest could lead to decisions that are not in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders.

 

Unless otherwise provided for in a partnership agreement, Delaware law generally requires a general partner of a Delaware limited partnership to adhere to fiduciary duty standards under which it owes its limited partners the highest duties of good faith, fairness and loyalty and which generally prohibit such general partner from taking any action or engaging in any transaction as to which it has a conflict of interest. The partnership agreement provides that, in the event of a conflict between the interests of the limited partners of our operating partnership, on the one hand, and the separate interests of our stockholders, on the other hand, the general partner, in its capacity as the general partner of our operating partnership, shall act in the interests of our stockholders and is under no obligation to consider the separate interests of the limited partners of our operating partnership in deciding whether to cause our operating partnership to take or not to take any actions. The partnership agreement further provides that any decisions or actions not taken by the general partner in accordance with the partnership agreement will not violate any duties, including the duty of loyalty, that the general partner, in its capacity as the general partner of our operating partnership, owes to our operating partnership and its partners.

 

Additionally, the partnership agreement provides that the general partner will not be liable to our operating partnership or any partner for monetary damages for losses sustained, liabilities incurred or benefits not derived by our operating partnership or any limited partner unless the general partner acted in bad faith and the act or omission was material to the matter giving rise to the loss, liability or benefit not derived. Our operating partnership must indemnify the general partner, us, our directors and officers, officers of our operating partnership and others designated by the general partner from and against any and all claims that relate to the operations of our operating partnership, unless (1) an act or omission of the indemnified person was material to the matter giving rise to the action and either was committed in bad faith or was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty, (2) the indemnified person actually received an improper personal benefit in money, property or services or (3) in the case of a criminal proceeding, the indemnified person had reasonable cause to believe that the act or omission was unlawful. Our operating partnership must also pay or reimburse the reasonable expenses of any such person upon its receipt of a written affirmation of the person's good faith belief that the standard of conduct necessary for indemnification has been met and a written undertaking to repay any amounts paid or advanced if it is ultimately determined that the person did not meet the standard of conduct for indemnification. Our operating partnership will not indemnify or advance funds to any person with respect to any action initiated by the person seeking indemnification without our approval (except for any proceeding brought to enforce such person's right to indemnification under the partnership agreement) or if the person is found to be liable to our operating partnership on any portion of any claim in the action. No reported decision of a Delaware appellate court has interpreted provisions similar to the provisions of the partnership agreement that modify and reduce our fiduciary duties or obligations as the sole member of the general partner or reduce or eliminate our liability for money damages to our operating partnership and its partners, and we have

23


 

Table of Contents

not obtained an opinion of counsel as to the enforceability of the provisions set forth in the partnership agreement that purport to modify or reduce the fiduciary duties that would be in effect were it not for the partnership agreement.

 

Our charter contains certain provisions restricting the ownership and transfer of our stock that may delay, defer or prevent a change of control transaction that might involve a premium price for our common stock or that our stockholders otherwise believe to be in their best interests.

 

Our charter contains certain ownership limits with respect to our stock. Our charter, among other restrictions, prohibits the beneficial or constructive ownership by any person of more than 9.8% in value or number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of the outstanding shares of any class or series of our stock, excluding any shares that are not treated as outstanding for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Our Board of Directors, in its sole and absolute discretion, may exempt a person, prospectively or retroactively, from this ownership limit if certain conditions are satisfied.  This ownership limit as well as other restrictions on ownership and transfer of our stock in our charter may:

 

·

discourage a tender offer or other transactions or a change in management or of control that might involve a premium price for our common stock or that our stockholders otherwise believe to be in their best interests; and

·

result in the transfer of shares acquired in excess of the restrictions to a trust for the benefit of a charitable beneficiary and, as a result, the forfeiture by the acquirer of certain of the benefits of owning the additional shares.

 

We could increase the number of authorized shares of stock, classify and reclassify unissued stock and issue stock without stockholder approval, which may delay, defer or prevent a transaction that our stockholders believe to be in their best interests.

 

Our Board of Directors, without stockholder approval, has the power under our charter to amend our charter to increase or decrease the aggregate number of shares of stock or the number of shares of stock of any class or series that we are authorized to issue. In addition, under our charter, our Board of Directors, without stockholder approval, has the power to authorize us to issue authorized but unissued shares of our common stock or preferred stock and to classify or reclassify any unissued shares of our common stock or preferred stock into one or more classes or series of stock and set the preference, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to dividends and other distributions, qualifications or terms or conditions of redemption for such newly classified or reclassified shares.  As a result, we may issue series or classes of common stock or preferred stock with preferences, dividends, powers and rights, voting or otherwise, that are senior to, or otherwise conflict with, the rights of holders of our common stock. Although our Board of Directors has no such intention at the present time, it could establish a class or series of preferred stock that could, depending on the terms of such series, delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change of control that might involve a premium price for our common stock or that our stockholders otherwise believe to be in their best interests.

 

Certain provisions of Maryland law could inhibit changes in control, which may discourage third parties from conducting a tender offer or seeking other change of control transactions that could involve a premium price for our common stock or that our stockholders otherwise believe to be in their best interests.

 

Certain provisions of the Maryland General Corporation Law, or the MGCL, may have the effect of inhibiting a third party from making a proposal to acquire us or of impeding a change of control under certain circumstances that otherwise could provide the holders of shares of our common stock with the opportunity to realize a premium over the then-prevailing market price of such shares, including:

 

·

"business combination" provisions that, subject to limitations, prohibit certain business combinations between us and an "interested stockholder" (defined generally as any person who beneficially owns 10% or more of the voting power of our outstanding voting stock or any affiliate or associate of ours who, at any time within the two-year period immediately prior to the date in question, was the beneficial owner of 10% or more of the voting power of our then outstanding stock) or an affiliate thereof for five years after the most recent date on which the stockholder becomes an interested stockholder and thereafter impose fair price and/or supermajority voting requirements on these combinations; and 

·

"control share" provisions that provide that "control shares" of our company (defined as shares which, when aggregated with other shares controlled by the stockholder, except solely by virtue of a revocable proxy, entitle

24


 

Table of Contents

the stockholder to exercise one of three increasing ranges of voting power in electing directors) acquired in a "control share acquisition" (defined as the direct or indirect acquisition of ownership or control of issued and outstanding "control shares") have no voting rights with respect to their control shares except to the extent approved by our stockholders by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of all the votes entitled to be cast on the matter, excluding all interested shares.

 

By resolution of our Board of Directors, we have opted out of the business combination provisions of the MGCL and provided that any business combination between us and any other person is exempt from the business combination provisions of the MGCL, provided that the business combination is first approved by our Board of Directors (including a majority of directors who are not affiliates or associates of such persons). In addition, pursuant to a provision in our bylaws, we have opted out of the control share provisions of the MGCL. However, our Board of Directors may by resolution elect to opt in to the business combination provisions of the MGCL and we may, by amendment to our bylaws, opt in to the control share provisions of the MGCL in the future.

 

Additionally, certain provisions of the MGCL permit our Board of Directors, without stockholder approval and regardless of what is currently provided in our charter or our bylaws, to implement takeover defenses, some of which (for example, a classified board) we do not currently employ. These provisions may have the effect of inhibiting a third party from making an acquisition proposal for our company or of delaying, deferring, or preventing a change in control of our company under circumstances that otherwise could provide the holders of our common stock with the opportunity to realize a premium over the then-current market price. Our charter contains a provision whereby we elect to be subject to the provisions of Title 3, Subtitle 8 of the MGCL relating to the filling of vacancies on our Board of Directors.

 

Our charter, our bylaws and Maryland law also contain other provisions, including the provisions of our charter on removal of directors and the advance notice provisions of our bylaws, that may delay, defer, or prevent a transaction or a change of control that might involve a premium price for our common stock or otherwise be in the best interest of our stockholders.

 

Certain provisions in the partnership agreement may delay or prevent unsolicited acquisitions of us.

 

Provisions in the partnership agreement may delay, or make more difficult, unsolicited acquisitions of us or changes of our control. These provisions could discourage third parties from making proposals involving an unsolicited acquisition of us or change of our control, although some of our stockholders might consider such proposals, if made, desirable. These provisions include, among others:

 

·

redemption rights;

·

a requirement that the general partner may not be removed as the general partner of our operating partnership without our consent;

·

transfer restrictions on Common units;

·

our ability, as general partner, in some cases, to amend the partnership agreement and to cause our operating partnership to issue units with terms that could delay, defer or prevent a merger or other change of control of us or our operating partnership without the consent of the limited partners; and

·

the right of the limited partners to consent to direct or indirect transfers of the general partnership interest, including as a result of a merger or a sale of all or substantially all of our assets, in the event that such transfer requires approval by our common stockholders.

 

Our Board of Directors may change our strategies, policies and procedures without stockholder approval.

 

Our investment, financing, leverage and distribution policies, and our policies with respect to all other activities, including growth, capitalization and operations, are determined exclusively by our Board of Directors, and may be amended or revised at any time by our Board of Directors without notice to or a vote of our stockholders. This could result in us conducting operational matters, making investments or pursuing different business or growth strategies than those contemplated in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Further, our charter and bylaws do not limit the amount or percentage of indebtedness, funded or otherwise, that we may incur. Our Board of Directors may alter or eliminate our current policy on borrowing at any time without stockholder approval. If this policy changed, we could become more highly leveraged

25


 

Table of Contents

which could result in an increase in our debt service. Higher leverage also increases the risk of default on our obligations. In addition, a change in our investment policies, including the manner in which we allocate our resources across our portfolio or the types of assets in which we seek to invest, may increase our exposure to interest rate risk, real estate market fluctuations and liquidity risk. Changes to our policies with regards to the foregoing could materially adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.

 

Our rights and the rights of our stockholders to take action against our directors and officers are limited, which could limit your recourse in the event that we take certain actions which are not in our stockholders' best interests.

 

Maryland law provides that a director or officer has no liability in that capacity if he or she performs his or her duties in good faith, in a manner that he or she reasonably believes to be in our best interests and with the care that an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would use under similar circumstances. Under the MGCL, directors are presumed to have acted with this standard of care. As permitted by Maryland law, our charter eliminates the liability of our directors and officers to us and our stockholders for money damages, except for liability resulting from:

 

·

actual receipt of an improper benefit or profit in money, property or services; or

·

active and deliberate dishonesty by the director or officer that was established by a final judgment as being material to the cause of action adjudicated.

 

Our charter and bylaws obligate us to indemnify each present and former director or officer, to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law, in the defense of any proceeding to which he or she is made, or threatened to be made, a party by reason of his or her service to us. In addition, we may be obligated to advance the defense costs incurred by our directors and officers. We also have entered into indemnification agreements with our officers and directors granting them express indemnification rights. As a result, we and our stockholders may have more limited rights against our directors and officers than might otherwise exist absent the current provisions in our charter, bylaws and indemnification agreements or that might exist for other public companies.

 

Our charter contains provisions that make removal of our directors difficult, which could make it difficult for our stockholders to effect changes to our management.

 

Our charter contains provisions that make removal of our directors difficult, which could make it difficult for our stockholders to effect changes to our senior management and may prevent a change in control of our company that is in the best interests of our stockholders. Our charter provides that a director may only be removed for cause upon the affirmative vote of holders of two-thirds of all the votes entitled to be cast generally in the election of directors. Vacancies may be filled only by a majority of the remaining directors in office, even if less than a quorum. These requirements make it more difficult to change our senior management by removing and replacing directors and may prevent a change in control of our company that is in the best interests of our stockholders.

 

Our operating partnership may issue additional Common units or one or more classes of  preferred units to third parties without the consent of our stockholders, which would reduce our ownership percentage in our operating partnership and could have a dilutive effect on the amount of distributions made to us by our operating partnership and, therefore, the amount of distributions we can make to our stockholders.

 

As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we owned approximately 93.2% of the outstanding Common units in our operating partnership (on a fully diluted basis). Since our initial public offering, we have issued a total of 8.0 million Common units and a total of 117,000 Series A preferred units as consideration in connection with our acquisition of properties, and we may issue additional Common units and Series A preferred units of one or more classes in connection with our acquisition of properties, as compensation or otherwise. Such issuances would reduce our ownership percentage in our operating partnership and could affect the amount of distributions made to us by our operating partnership and, therefore, the amount of distributions we can make to our stockholders. Our common stockholders do not have any voting rights with respect to any such issuances or other partnership level activities of our operating partnership.

 

26


 

Table of Contents

Certain aspects of our Series A preferred units and Series B Participating Preferred Stock may limit our ability to make distributions to our common stockholders.

 

The distribution rates on our Series A preferred units and Series B Participating Preferred Stock are fixed, and no distributions can be paid to our common stockholders unless we have paid all cumulative dividends on our Series A preferred units and Series B Participating Preferred Stock. The distribution preference of our Series A preferred units and Series B Participating Preferred Stock could materially and adversely affect our cash flow and ability to make distributions to our common stockholders.

 

In addition to the fixed payments on our Series A preferred units and Series B Participating Preferred Stock, holders of our Series B Participating Preferred Stock may receive a Farmland Value Appreciation (“FVA”) payment that represents the cumulative change from the 2018 estimated average value per acre of farmland in the 17 states in which we owned farmland as of June 30, 2018 weighted by the percentage of the total unaudited book value of our properties held in each of the 17 states as of June 30, 2018. The FVA payment may be realized by a holder of Series B Participating Preferred Stock only upon (i) the exercise of our optional redemption right or conversion right after September 30, 2021, (ii) any conversion or redemption in connection with a change in control or (iii) the liquidation, dissolution or winding up of the Company. Any of these events could occur during a time in which the FVA amount has substantially appreciated from its 2018 level, which may require a significant distribution from the Company to holders of Series B Participating Preferred Stock, and could materially and adversely affect our cash available to make distributions to our common stockholders. Further, in addition to the FVA amount if a redemption or liquidation occurs on or before September 30, 2021, we will be required to pay a premium amount that is calculated based on the FVA amount, which could further reduce our cash available to make distributions to our common stockholders.

 

U.S. Federal Income Tax Risks

Failure to maintain qualification as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes would subject us to U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates, which would substantially reduce our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

We elected to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes beginning with our short taxable year ended December 31, 2014. To maintain qualification as a REIT, we must meet various requirements set forth in the Code concerning, among other things, the ownership of our outstanding stock, the nature of our assets, the sources of our income and the amount of our distributions. The REIT qualification requirements are extremely complex, and interpretations of the U.S. federal income tax laws governing qualification as a REIT are limited. We believe that our current organization and method of operation will enable us to continue to qualify, as a REIT. However, at any time, new laws, interpretations or court decisions may change the U.S. federal tax laws relating to, or the U.S. federal income tax consequences of, qualification as a REIT. It is possible that future economic, market, legal, tax or other considerations may cause our Board of Directors to determine that it is not in our best interest to qualify as a REIT and to revoke our REIT election, which it may do without stockholder approval.

 

If we fail to qualify as a REIT for any taxable year, we will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates. In addition, we generally would be disqualified from treatment as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year in which we lost our REIT status. Losing our REIT status would reduce our net earnings available for investment or distribution because of the additional tax liability. In addition, distributions would no longer qualify for the dividends paid deduction, and we would no longer be required to make distributions. If this occurs, we might be required to borrow funds or liquidate some investments in order to pay the applicable tax.

 

As a result of all these factors, our failure to qualify as a REIT could impair our ability to expand our business and raise capital, and would substantially reduce our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

27


 

Table of Contents

To qualify as a REIT and to avoid the payment of U.S. federal income and excise taxes, we may be forced to borrow funds, use proceeds from the issuance of securities, pay taxable dividends of our stock or debt securities or sell assets to make distributions, which may result in our distributing amounts that may otherwise be used for our operations.

 

To obtain the favorable tax treatment accorded to REITs, we normally are required each year to distribute to our stockholders at least 90% of our REIT taxable income, determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and by excluding net capital gains. We will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on our undistributed taxable income and net capital gain and to a 4% nondeductible excise tax on any amount by which distributions we pay with respect to any calendar year are less than the sum of (1) 85% of our ordinary income, (2) 95% of our capital gain net income and (3) 100% of our undistributed income from prior years. These requirements could cause us to distribute amounts that otherwise would be spent on acquisitions of properties and it is possible that we might be required to borrow funds, use proceeds from the issuance of securities, pay taxable dividends of our stock or debt securities or sell assets in order to distribute enough of our taxable income to maintain our qualification as a REIT and to avoid the payment of U.S. federal income and excise taxes.

 

Future sales of properties may result in penalty taxes or may be made through TRSs, each of which would diminish the return to you.

 

It is possible that one or more sales of our properties may be "prohibited transactions" under provisions of the Code. If we are deemed to have engaged in a "prohibited transaction" (i.e., we sell a property held by us primarily for sale in the ordinary course of our trade or business), all income that we derive from such sale would be subject to a 100% tax. The Code sets forth a safe harbor for REITs that wish to sell property without risking the imposition of the 100% tax. A principal requirement of the safe harbor is that the REIT must hold the applicable property for not less than two years prior to its sale for the production of rental income. It is entirely possible that a future sale of one or more of our properties will not fall within the prohibited transaction safe harbor.

 

If we acquire a property that we anticipate will not fall within the safe harbor from the 100% penalty tax upon disposition, we may acquire such property through a TRS in order to avoid the possibility that the sale of such property will be a prohibited transaction and subject to the 100% penalty tax. If we already own such a property directly or indirectly through an entity other than a TRS, we may contribute the property to a TRS. Though a sale of such property by a TRS likely would mitigate the risk of incurring a 100% penalty tax, the TRS itself would be subject to regular corporate income tax at the U.S. federal level, and potentially at the state and local levels, on the gain recognized on the sale of the property as well as any income earned while the property is operated by the TRS. Such tax would diminish the amount of proceeds from the sale of such property ultimately distributable to our stockholders. Our ability to use TRSs in the foregoing manner is subject to limitation. Among other things, the value of our securities in TRSs may not exceed 20% of the value of our assets and dividends from our TRSs, when aggregated with all other non-real estate income with respect to any one year, generally may not exceed 25% of our gross income with respect to such year. No assurances can be provided that we would be able to successfully avoid the 100% penalty tax through the use of TRSs.

 

In addition, if we acquire any asset from a C corporation (i.e., a corporation generally subject to full corporate-level tax) in a merger or other transaction in which we acquire a basis in the asset determined by reference either to the C corporation's basis in the asset or to another asset, we will pay tax, at the highest U.S. federal corporate income tax rate, on any built-in gain recognized on a taxable disposition of the asset during the 5-year period after its acquisition. As a result of the manner in which we acquired the Hudye Farm, a subsequent taxable disposition by us of any such assets generally would be subject to the foregoing built-in gain rules.

 

In certain circumstances, we may be subject to U.S. federal and state income taxes as a REIT, which would reduce our cash available for distribution to our stockholders.

 

Even if we qualify as a REIT, we may be subject to U.S. federal income taxes or state taxes. As discussed above, net income from a "prohibited transaction" will be subject to a 100% penalty tax and built-in gain recognized on the taxable disposition of assets acquired from C corporations in certain non-taxable transactions will be subject to tax at the highest applicable U.S. federal corporate income tax rate. To the extent we satisfy the distribution requirements applicable to REITs, but distribute less than 100% or our taxable income, we will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at regular

28


 

Table of Contents

corporate rates on our undistributed income. We may not be able to make sufficient distributions to avoid excise taxes applicable to REITs. We may also decide to retain capital gains we earn from the sale or other disposition of our properties and pay income tax directly on such income. In that event, our stockholders would be treated as if they earned that income and paid the tax on it directly. However, our stockholders that are tax-exempt, such as charities or qualified pension plans, would have no benefit from their deemed payment of such tax liability. We may also be subject to state and local taxes on our income or property, either directly or at the level of the companies through which we indirectly own our assets. Any U.S. federal or state taxes we pay will reduce our cash available for distribution to our stockholders.

 

The ability of our Board of Directors to revoke or otherwise terminate our REIT qualification without stockholder approval may cause adverse consequences to our stockholders.

 

Our charter provides that our Board of Directors may revoke or otherwise terminate our REIT election, without the approval of our stockholders, if it determines that it is no longer in our best interest to continue to qualify as a REIT. If we cease to qualify as a REIT, we would become subject to U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates and would no longer be required to distribute most of our taxable income to our stockholders, which may have adverse consequences on our total return to our stockholders.

 

If our operating partnership were classified as a "publicly traded partnership" taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we would fail to qualify as a REIT and would suffer other adverse tax consequences.

 

We intend for our operating partnership to be treated as a "partnership" for U.S. federal income tax purposes. If the IRS were to successfully assert our operating partnership was “publicly traded,” our operating partnership could be taxable as a corporation if less than 90% of its gross income consisted of certain qualifying passive income. In such event, we likely would fail to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and the resulting corporate income tax burden would reduce the amount of distributions that our operating partnership could make to us. This would substantially reduce the cash available to pay distributions to our stockholders.

 

Complying with the REIT requirements may cause us to forego otherwise attractive opportunities or sell properties earlier than we wish.

 

To maintain our qualification as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we must continually satisfy tests concerning, among other things, the sources of our income, the nature and diversification of our assets, the amounts we distribute to our stockholders and the ownership of shares of our stock. We may be required to make distributions to our stockholders at disadvantageous times or when we do not have funds readily available for distribution, or we may be required to forego or liquidate otherwise attractive investments in order to comply with the REIT tests. Thus, compliance with the REIT requirements may hinder our ability to operate solely on the basis of maximizing profits.

 

You may be restricted from acquiring or transferring certain amounts of our common stock or our Series B Participating Preferred Stock.

 

Certain provisions of the Code and the stock ownership limits in our charter may inhibit market activity in our capital stock and restrict our business combination opportunities. In order to maintain our qualification as a REIT, five or fewer individuals, as defined in the Code, may not own, beneficially or constructively, more than 50% in value of our issued and outstanding stock at any time during the last half of a taxable year. Attribution rules in the Code determine if any individual or entity beneficially or constructively owns our capital stock under this requirement. Additionally, at least 100 persons must beneficially own our capital stock during at least 335 days of a taxable year. To help insure that we meet these tests, our charter restricts the acquisition and ownership of shares of our stock.

 

Our charter, with certain exceptions, authorizes our Board of Directors to take such actions as are necessary and desirable to preserve our qualification as a REIT. Unless exempted by our Board of Directors, our charter prohibits any person from beneficially or constructively owning more than 9.8% in value or number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of the outstanding shares of any class or series of our capital stock. Our Board of Directors may not grant an exemption from these restrictions to any proposed transferee whose ownership in excess of such ownership limit would result in our failing to qualify as a REIT.

 

29


 

Table of Contents

Dividends paid by REITs generally do not qualify for the favorable tax rates available for some dividends.

 

The maximum U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income paid to U.S. stockholders that are individuals, trusts and estates currently is 20%. Dividends paid by REITs generally are not eligible for such reduced tax rate. Instead, our ordinary dividends generally are taxed at the higher tax rates applicable to ordinary income, the current maximum rate of which is 37%. Although the favorable tax rates applicable to qualified dividend income do not adversely affect the taxation of REITs or dividends paid by REITs, such favorable tax rates could cause investors who are individuals, trusts and estates to perceive investments in REITs to be relatively less attractive than investments in the stocks of non-REIT corporations that pay dividends, which could adversely affect the value of the shares of REITs, including our common stock and Series B Participating Preferred Stock. However, for taxable years prior to 2026, individual stockholders are generally allowed to deduct 20% of the aggregate amount of ordinary dividends distributed by us, subject to certain limitations, which would reduce the maximum marginal effective federal income tax rate for individuals on the receipt of such ordinary dividends to 29.6%.

 

Recent changes to the U.S. federal income tax laws, including the enactment of certain tax reform measures, could have an adverse impact on the economy, our tenants and our business and financial results.

 

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed the legislation (the “Tax Reform Legislation”) commonly known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, which, among other changes:

 

·

Reduces the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% (including with respect to our taxable REIT subsidiaries);

·

Reduces the rate of U.S. federal withholding tax on distributions made to non-U.S. shareholders by a REIT that are attributable to gains from the sale or exchange of U.S. real property interests from 35% to 21%;

·

Allows an immediate 100% deduction of the cost of certain capital asset investments (generally excluding real estate assets), subject to a phase-down of the deduction percentage over time;

·

Changes the recovery periods for certain real property and building improvements (for example, to 15 years for qualified improvement property under the modified accelerated cost recovery system, and to 30 years (previously 40 years) for residential real property and 20 years (previously 40 years) for qualified improvement property under the alternative depreciation system);

·

Restricts the deductibility of interest expense by businesses (generally, to 30% of the business’ adjusted taxable income) except, among others, real property businesses electing out of such restriction; generally, we expect our business to qualify as such a real property business, but businesses conducted by our taxable REIT subsidiaries may not qualify and we have not yet determined whether we will make such election;

·

Requires the use of the less favorable alternative depreciation system to depreciate real property in the event a real property business elects to avoid the interest deduction restriction above;

·

Restricts the benefits of like-kind exchanges that defer capital gains for tax purposes to exchanges of real property;

·

Requires accrual method taxpayers to take certain amounts in income no later than the taxable year in which such income is taken into account as revenue in an applicable financial statement prepared under GAAP, which, with respect to certain leases, could accelerate the inclusion of rental income;

·

Eliminates the corporate alternative minimum tax;

·

Reduces the highest marginal income tax rate for individuals to 37% from 39.6% (excluding, in each case, the 3.8% Medicare tax on net investment income); 

·

Generally allows a deduction for individuals equal to 20% of certain income from pass-through entities, including ordinary dividends distributed by a REIT (excluding capital gain dividends and qualified dividend income), generally resulting in a maximum effective federal income tax rate applicable to such dividends of 29.6% compared to 37% (excluding, in each case, the 3.8% Medicare tax on net investment income); and

·

Limits certain deductions for individuals, including deductions for state and local income taxes, and eliminates deductions for miscellaneous itemized deductions (including certain investment expenses).

 

Many of the provisions in the Tax Reform Legislation expire in seven years (at the end of 2025). As a result of the changes to U.S. federal tax laws implemented by the Tax Reform Legislation, our taxable income and the amount of distributions to our stockholders required in order to maintain our REIT status, and our relative tax advantage as a REIT, may significantly change. 

 

30


 

Table of Contents

The Tax Reform Legislation is a far-reaching and complex revision to the U.S. federal income tax laws with disparate and, in some cases, countervailing impacts on different categories of taxpayers and industries, and will require subsequent rulemaking and interpretation in a number of areas.  The long-term impact of the Tax Reform Legislation on the economy, us, our investors, our tenants, the real estate industry and government revenues cannot be reliably predicted at this early stage of the new law’s implementation. Furthermore, the Tax Reform Legislation may negatively impact certain of our tenants’ operating results, financial condition, and future business plans.  The Tax Reform Legislation may also result in reduced government revenues, and therefore reduced government spending, which may negatively impact tenants that directly or indirectly rely on government funding.  There can be no assurance that the Tax Reform Legislation will not negatively impact our operating results, financial condition, and future business operations.  Additionally, the Tax Reform Legislation may be adverse to certain of our stockholders and other investors. Prospective investors are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the effect of the changes to the U.S. federal tax laws on an investment in our shares and other securities.

 

Further changes to the U.S. federal income tax laws could have an adverse impact on our business and financial results.

 

Numerous changes to the U.S. federal income tax laws are proposed regularly.  The REIT rules are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department, which may result in revisions to regulations and interpretations in addition to statutory changes.  If enacted, certain such changes could have an adverse impact on our business and financial results. 

 

We cannot predict whether, when or to what extent new U.S. federal tax laws, regulations, interpretations or rulings will be issued.  Prospective investors are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the effect of potential changes to the U.S. federal tax laws on an investment in our shares.

 

Legislative or regulatory action with respect to taxes could adversely affect the returns to our stockholders.

 

In recent years, numerous legislative, judicial and administrative changes have been made in the provisions of the U.S. federal income tax laws applicable to investments similar to an investment in our capital stock. Additional changes to the tax laws are likely to continue to occur, and we cannot assure you that any such changes will not adversely affect the taxation of a stockholder. Any such changes could have an adverse effect on an investment in our stock or on the market value or the resale potential of our assets. You are urged to consult with your own tax advisor with respect to the impact of recent legislation on your investment in our stock and the status of legislative, regulatory or administrative developments and proposals and their potential effect on an investment in shares of our common stock.

 

Risks Related to the Market for Our Capital Stock

 

We may be unable to make distributions at expected levels, which could result in a decrease in the market price of our common stock.

 

We intend to continue to pay regular quarterly distributions to our stockholders. However, we significantly reduced the amount of distributions on our common stock beginning in the third quarter of 2018, and we may be required to reduce our distributions further in the future.  All distributions will be made at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will be based upon, among other factors, our historical and projected results of operations, financial condition, cash flows and liquidity, maintenance of our REIT qualification and other tax considerations, capital expenditure and other expense obligations, debt covenants, contractual prohibitions or other limitations and applicable law and such other matters as our Board of Directors may deem relevant from time to time. If sufficient cash is not available for distribution from our operations, we may have to fund distributions from working capital, borrow to provide funds for such distributions, or reduce the amount of such distributions. To the extent we borrow to fund distributions, our future interest costs would increase, thereby reducing our earnings and cash available for distribution from what they otherwise would have been. If cash available for distribution generated by our assets is less than our current estimate, or if such cash available for distribution decreases in future periods from expected levels, our inability to make the expected distributions could result in a decrease in the market price of our common stock or Series B Participating Preferred Stock.

 

31


 

Table of Contents

We are an "emerging growth company," and we cannot be certain if the reduced disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies will make shares of our common stock or Series B Participating Preferred Stock less attractive to investors.

 

In April 2012, President Obama signed into law the JOBS Act. The JOBS Act contains provisions that, among other things, relax certain reporting requirements for "emerging growth companies," including certain requirements relating to accounting standards and compensation disclosure. We are classified as an emerging growth company. For as long as we are an emerging growth company, which will be until December 31, 2019, we may take advantage of exemptions from various reporting and other requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, including the requirements to:

 

·

provide an auditor's attestation report on management's assessment of the effectiveness of our system of internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; 

·

comply with any new or revised financial accounting standards applicable to public companies until such standards are also applicable to private companies;

·

comply with any new requirements adopted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or the PCAOB, requiring mandatory audit firm rotation or a supplement to the auditor's report in which the auditor would be required to provide additional information about the audit and the financial statements of the issuer; 

·

comply with any new audit rules adopted by the PCAOB after April 5, 2012, unless the SEC determines otherwise;

·

provide certain disclosure regarding executive compensation required of larger public companies; or

·

hold stockholder advisory votes on executive compensation.

 

Although the JOBS Act allows us to take advantage of the exemption from complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards applicable to public companies until such standards are also applicable to private companies, we have irrevocably elected not to take advantage of the extension of time to comply with new or revised financial accounting standards under Section 102(b) of the JOBS Act.

 

We cannot predict if investors will find shares of our common stock or Series B Participating Preferred Stock less attractive because we will not be subject to the same reporting and other requirements as other public companies. If some investors find shares of our common stock or Series B Participating Preferred Stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock or Series B Participating Preferred Stock, and the per share trading price of our common stock or Series B Participating Preferred Stock could decline and may be more volatile.

 

The market price and trading volume of our common stock and Series B Participating Preferred Stock may be highly volatile and low, respectively.

 

The stock markets, including the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”), on which our common stock and our Series B Participating Preferred Stock is listed, historically have experienced significant price and volume fluctuations. As a result, the market price of our common stock and Series B Participating Preferred Stock is likely to be similarly volatile, and investors in our common stock and Series B Participating Preferred Stock may experience a decrease in the value of their shares, including decreases unrelated to our operating performance or prospects. The price of our common stock and Series B Participating Preferred Stock could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to a number of factors, including those listed in this "Risk Factors" section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and others such as: 

 

·

actual or anticipated variations in our quarterly results of operations or dividends;

·

changes in our funds from operations or earnings estimates;

·

changes in government regulations or policies affecting our business or the farming business; 

·

publication of research reports about us or the real estate or farming industries; 

·

sustained decreases in agricultural commodity and crop prices; 

·

increases in market interest rates that lead purchasers of our common stock to demand a higher yield;

·

increases in market interest rates that decrease demand for our Series B Participating Preferred Stock;

·

changes in market valuations of similar companies; 

32


 

Table of Contents

·

adverse market reaction to any additional debt we incur in the future;

·

additions or departures of key management personnel; 

·

actions by institutional stockholders; 

·

speculation in the press or investment community; 

·

the realization of any of the other risk factors presented in this Annual Report on Form 10-K; 

·

the extent of investor interest in our securities; 

·

the general reputation of REITs and the attractiveness of our equity securities in comparison to other equity securities, including securities issued by other real estate-based companies; 

·

our underlying asset value; 

·

investor confidence in the stock and bond markets generally; 

·

changes in tax laws; 

·

future equity issuances; 

·

failure to meet earnings estimates; 

·

failure to meet and maintain REIT qualifications and requirements; 

·

low trading volume of our common stock or Series B Participating Preferred Stock; and 

·

general market and economic conditions.

 

In the past, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against companies following periods of volatility in the price of their common stock. This type of litigation could result in substantial costs and divert our management's attention and resources, which could have a material adverse effect on us, including our financial condition, results of operations, cash flow and the per share trading price of our common stock.

 

Our common stock is subject to trading risks created by the spread of false information and manipulative trading.

 

Our common stock is widely traded and held by a diverse group of investors, including retail investors, and these investors are subject to the influence of information provided by third party investor websites and independent authors distributing information on the internet. This information is often widely distributed, in some cases anonymously, including through platforms that mainly serve as hosts seeking advertising revenue. These sites and internet distribution strategies create opportunities for individuals to pursue both “pump and dump” and “short and distort” strategies. We believe that many of these websites have little or no requirements for authors to have professional qualifications. While these sites sometimes require disclosure of stock positions by authors, as far as we are aware these sites do not audit the accuracy of such conflict of interest disclosures. In addition, we believe that many of these websites have few or lax editorial standards, and thin or non-existent editorial staffs. Despite our best efforts, we may not be able to obtain corrections to information provided on these websites about our Company, and any corrections that are obtained may not be achieved prior to the majority of audience impressions being formed for a given article. These conditions create volatility and risk for holders of our common stock and should be considered by investors. While we have sought to engage regulators to address activities that we believe are intentionally misleading, we can make no guarantees that regulatory authorities will take action on these types of activities, and we cannot guarantee that any action taken by regulators or legislators will timely address damage done by the activities of these websites and authors.

 

The number of shares of our common stock available for future issuance or sale may have adverse effects on the market price of our common stock.

 

As of December 31, 2018, approximately 30.6 million shares of our common stock were outstanding. In addition, as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, other than the Common units held by us, approximately 4.6 million Common units in our operating partnership were outstanding, 4.6 million of which currently may be tendered for redemption by the holders, for cash, or at our option, for shares of our common stock, on a one-for-one basis. We have registered the issuance of 4.6 million of the shares issuable upon redemption of Common units, and we intend to register the issuance of additional shares that may be issued upon redemption of Common units so that such shares will be freely tradable under the securities laws.

We cannot predict whether future issuances or sales of shares of our common stock or the availability of shares for resale in the open market will decrease the per share trading price per share of our common stock. The per share trading

33


 

Table of Contents

price of our common stock may decline significantly when we register the shares of our common stock issuable upon redemption of outstanding Common units.

 

Future offerings of debt, which would be senior to our common stock upon liquidation, our Series B Participating Preferred Stock and other preferred equity securities, which may be senior to our common stock for purposes of dividend distributions or upon liquidation, and Common units in connection with future acquisitions may materially adversely affect us, including the per share trading price of our common stock.

 

In the future, we may attempt to increase our capital resources by making additional offerings of debt or equity securities (or causing our operating partnership to issue debt securities), including medium-term notes, senior or subordinated notes and classes or series of preferred stock. Upon liquidation, holders of our debt securities and shares of preferred stock, including our Series B Participating Preferred Stock, and lenders with respect to other borrowings will be entitled to receive payments prior to distributions to the holders of our common stock. Additionally, any convertible or exchangeable securities that we issue in the future may have rights, preferences and privileges more favorable than those of our common stock and may result in dilution to owners of our common stock. Holders of our common stock are not entitled to preemptive rights or other protections against dilution. Our Series B Participating Preferred Stock has a preference on liquidating distributions and a preference on dividend payments that could limit our ability to pay dividends to the holders of our common stock, as could any future series of preferred stock. Because our decision to issue securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing or nature of our future offerings. Thus, our stockholders bear the risk that our future offerings could reduce the per share trading price of our common stock and dilute their interest in us. In addition, the issuance of Common units in connection with future acquisitions and the redemption of such Common units for common stock may be dilutive to our stockholders and could have an adverse effect on the per share trading price of our common stock.

 

Our Series B Participating Preferred Stock is subordinate to our existing and future debt and other liabilities, and could be diluted by the issuance of additional preferred stock and by other transactions.

 

Our Series B Participating Preferred Stock is subordinate to all of our existing and future debt. Our existing debt restricts, and our future debt may include restrictions on, our ability to pay dividends to preferred stockholders in the event of a default under the debt facilities. Additionally, the issuance of additional shares of preferred stock on parity with or senior to the Series B Participating Preferred Stock would dilute the interests of the holders of the Series B Participating Preferred Stock, and any issuance of shares of preferred stock senior to the Series B Participating Preferred Stock or of additional indebtedness could affect our ability to pay dividends on, redeem or pay the liquidation preference on our Series B Participating Preferred Stock.

 

None of the provisions relating to the Series B Participating Preferred Stock relate to or limit our indebtedness or afford the holders of the Series B Participating Preferred Stock protection in the event of a highly leveraged or other transaction, including a merger or the sale, lease or conveyance of all or substantially all of our assets or business, that might adversely affect the holders of the Series B Participating Preferred Stock.

 

An increase in market interest rates may have an adverse effect on the market price of our common stock or Series B Participating Preferred Stock

 

One of the factors that investors may consider in deciding whether to buy or sell our common stock or Series B Participating Preferred Stock is our distribution yield, which is our distribution rate as a percentage of the share price of our common stock or Series B Participating Preferred Stock, relative to market interest rates. If market interest rates increase, prospective investors may desire a higher distribution yield on our common stock or Series B Participating Preferred Stock or may seek securities paying higher dividends or interest. The market price of our common stock or Series B Participating Preferred Stock likely will be based primarily on the earnings that we derive from rental income with respect to our properties and our related distributions to stockholders, and not from the underlying appraised value of the properties themselves. As a result, interest rate fluctuations and capital market conditions are likely to affect the market price of our common stock and our Series B Participating Preferred Stock, and such effects could be significant. For instance, if interest rates rise without an increase in our distribution rate, the market price of our common stock or Series

34


 

Table of Contents

B Participating Preferred Stock could decrease because potential investors may require a higher distribution yield on our common stock or Series B Participating Preferred Stock as market rates on interest-bearing securities, such as bonds, rise.

 

Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments

 

None.

 

Item 2. Properties

 

The information set forth under the caption “Our Properties” in Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K is incorporated by reference herein.

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

 

On July 11, 2018, a purported class action lawsuit, captioned Kachmar v. Farmland Partners, Inc. (the Kachmar Action”), was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado against the Company and certain of our officers by a purported Company stockholder. The complaint alleges, among other things, that our disclosure related to the FPI Loan Program was materially false and misleading in violation of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. On August 17, 2018, a second purported class action, captioned Mariconda v. Farmland Partners Inc. (the “Mariconda Action”) was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, alleging substantially identical claims as the Kachmar Action.  Several purported shareholders moved to consolidate the Kachmar Action and the Mariconda Action and for appointment as Lead Plaintiff.  On November 13, 2018, the plaintiff in the Kachmar action voluntarily dismissed the Kachmar Action.  On December 3, 2018, the court appointed two purported FPI shareholders, the Turner Insurance Agency, Inc. and Cecilia Turner (the “Turners”), as lead plaintiffs in the Mariconda Action.  The Turners filed a consolidated amended complaint in the Mariconda Action on March 11, 2019.  The defendants’ deadline to respond to the consolidated amended complaint is April 15, 2019.  The Company can provide no assurances as to the outcome of this litigation or provide an estimate of related expenses at this time.

 

On December 18, 2018, a purported FPI shareholder Jack Winter, filed a shareholder derivative complaint in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County Maryland (the “Winter Action”), purporting to assert breach of fiduciary duty claims derivatively on the Company’s behalf against the Company’s directors and certain of the Company’s officers.  The Winter Action alleges, among other things, that the Company’s directors and certain of the Company’s officers breached their fiduciary duties to the Company by allowing the Company to make allegedly false and misleading disclosures related to the FPI Loan Program.  On February 13, 2019, the parties filed a stipulation, agreeing to stay the Winter Action pending resolution of any motion to dismiss the Mariconda Action, described above.  On March 5, 2019, the court granted the parties’ request to stay the Winter Action until April 29, 2019 and scheduled an administrative hearing in the case on April 29, 2019.  The Company can provide no assurances as to the outcome of this litigation or provide an estimate of related expenses at this time.    

 

On July 24, 2018, we filed a lawsuit in the District Court, Denver County, Colorado, against “Rota Fortunae” (a pseudonym) and numerous co-conspirators (collectively, “Wheel of Fortune”) in response to an article posted on Seeking Alpha that makes numerous allegations about the Company that we believe to be false or materially misleading. We believe that as a consequence of Wheel of Fortune’s internet posting and related postings on social media, the trading price of our common stock declined by approximately 40%. We believe that Wheel of Fortune’s internet posting was made in connection with a “short and distort” scheme to profit from a decline in our stock price based on false and misleading information. The lawsuit that we filed alleges that Wheel of Fortune disseminated material false, misleading and defamatory information about us that has harmed us and our stockholders.  The Company can provide no assurances as to the outcome of this litigation or provide an estimate of related expenses at this time.  The Company expects that legal expenses related to this lawsuit may be substantial, may not be covered by insurance, and may exceed the Company’s recovery, if any, from the litigation.

 

35


 

Table of Contents

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

 

Not Applicable.

PART II

 

Item 5. Market For Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

Market Information

 

Our common stock trades on the NYSE under the symbol “FPI.” On December 31, 2018 and March 8, 2019, the closing price of our common stock as reported on the NYSE was $4.54 and $5.18, respectively.

36


 

Table of Contents

Stock Performance Graph

 

The following graph compares the total stockholder return of our common stock (assuming reinvestment of dividends) against the cumulative returns of the Standard & Poor’s Corporation Composite 500 Index and the SNL Financial REIT Index, or the SNLUS REITs for the period from April 16, 2014, the date of the initial listing of our common stock on the NYSE MKT to December 31, 2018. Our common stock began trading on the NYSE on September 8, 2015.

 

Picture 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Period Ending

 

 

 

 

 

Index

04/10/14

12/31/14

12/31/15

12/31/16

12/31/17

12/31/18

 

Farmland Partners Inc.

100.00
76.54
84.37
89.84
73.79
40.49

 

S&P 500 Index

100.00
113.98
115.56
129.38
157.62
150.71

 

SNL U.S. REIT Equity Index

100.00
117.39
120.63
131.34
141.97
134.95

 

SNL U.S. REITs < $250M Implied Cap Index

100.00
106.55
101.09
131.74
138.65
111.33

 

 

Distribution Information

 

Since our initial quarter as a publicly traded REIT, we have made regular quarterly distributions to our stockholders. We intend to continue to declare quarterly distributions. However, beginning with the third quarter of 2018, we significantly reduced distribution amounts on our common stock, and we cannot provide any assurance as to the amount or timing of future distributions.

 

Our ability to make distributions in the future will depend upon our actual results of operations and earnings, economic conditions and other factors that could differ materially from our current expectations, including the impact of ongoing

37


 

Table of Contents

litigation. Our actual results of operations will be affected by a number of factors, including the revenue we receive from our properties, our operating expenses, interest expense, the ability of our tenants to meet their obligations and unanticipated expenditures. For more information regarding risk factors that could materially adversely affect our actual results of operations, see "Risk Factors." Any future distributions will be authorized by our Board of Directors in its sole discretion out of funds legally available therefor and will be dependent upon a number of factors, including restrictions under applicable law, the capital requirements of our company and the distribution requirements necessary to qualify and maintain our qualification as a REIT. We may be required to fund distributions from working capital or borrow to provide funds for such distributions, or we may choose to make a portion of the required distributions in the form of a taxable stock dividend to preserve our cash balance or reduce our distribution.  No distributions can be paid on our common stock unless we have paid all cumulative dividends on our Series A preferred units and Series B Participating Preferred Stock. The distribution preference of our Series A preferred units and Series B Participating Preferred Stock could limit our ability to make distributions to the holders of our common stock.

 

Holders of our Series A preferred units are entitled to receive cash distributions at a rate of 3.00% per annum on  the $1,000 liquidation preference of the Series A preferred units, which is payable annually in arrears on January 15 of each year.  Holders of shares of our Series B Participating Preferred Stock are entitled to receive cash dividends at a rate of 6.00% per annum on the initial liquidation preference per share of $25.00 (equivalent to the fixed annual rate of $1.50 per share). Beginning on September 30, 2024, dividends will accrue or be paid on any FVA Amount. See “Risk Factors— Certain aspects of our Series A preferred units and Series B Participating Preferred Units may limit our ability to make distributions to our common stockholders.”

 

In order to maintain qualification as a REIT, we must distribute to our stockholders, on an annual basis, at least 90% of our REIT taxable income, determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gains. In addition, we will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at regular corporate rates to the extent that we distribute less than 100% of our net taxable income (including net capital gains) and will be subject to a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the amount by which our distributions in any calendar year are less than a minimum amount specified under applicable U.S. federal income tax laws. We intend to distribute our net income to our stockholders in a manner intended to satisfy the REIT 90% distribution requirement and to avoid any U.S. federal income tax liability on our income and the 4% nondeductible excise tax. We anticipate that our estimated cash available for distribution will exceed the annual distribution requirements applicable to REITs. However, under some circumstances, we may be required to use cash reserves, incur debt or liquidate assets at rates or times that we regard as unfavorable or make a taxable distribution of our shares in order to satisfy the REIT 90% distribution requirement and to avoid U.S. federal income tax and the 4% nondeductible excise tax. 

 

We anticipate that, from time to time, our distributions will exceed our then current and accumulated earnings and profits for the relevant taxable year, as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes, due to non-cash expenses such as certain stock-based compensation and depreciation and amortization. Therefore, a portion of our distributions may represent a return of capital for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The extent to which our distributions exceed our current and accumulated earnings and profits may vary substantially from year to year. To the extent a distribution is treated as a return of capital for U.S. federal income tax purposes, it will reduce a stockholder's adjusted tax basis in the holder's shares and, to the extent it exceeds the holder's adjusted tax basis, will be treated as gain resulting from a sale or exchange of such shares. As a result, the gain (or loss) recognized on a sale of that common stock or upon our liquidation would be increased (or decreased) accordingly.

 

Stockholder Information

 

As of March 8, 2019, there were approximately 47 holders of record of our common stock. However, because many shares of our common stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders, we believe there are substantially more beneficial holders of our common stock than record holders. As of March 8, 2019, there were approximately 18 holders (other than our company and management) of our Common units. Our Common units are redeemable for cash or, at our election, for shares of our common stock, on a one-for-one basis.  As of March 8, 2019, there were six holders of our Series A preferred units. As of March 8, 2019, there was one holder of record of our Series B Participating Preferred Stock. However, because many shares of our Series B Participating Preferred Stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders, we believe there are substantially more beneficial holders of our Series B Participating Preferred Stock than record holders.

38


 

Table of Contents

 

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

Share Repurchase Program

 

On March 15, 2017, our Board of Directors approved a program to repurchase up to $25 million in shares of our common stock.  In November 2017, our Board of Directors approved repurchases of our Series B participating preferred stock from time to time under the share repurchase program. On August 1, 2018, our Board of Directors increased the authority under the share repurchase program by an aggregate of $30 million such that the amount of shares of our common stock and Series B participating preferred stock that may be repurchased is now approximately $38.5 million. This share repurchase program does not obligate us to acquire any particular amount of common stock or Series B participating preferred stock, and it may be modified or suspended at any time at our discretion. We expect to fund repurchases under the program using cash on our balance sheet. Repurchases under this program may be made from time to time, in amounts and prices as the Company deems appropriate. Repurchases may be made in open market or privately negotiated transactions in compliance with Rule 10b-18 under the Exchange Act, subject to market conditions, applicable legal requirements, trading restrictions under our insider trading policy, and other relevant factors.  In 2018 we repurchased 3,048,147 shares of our common stock at an average price per share of $6.76 for a total cost of approximately $20.6 million and we repurchased 23,913 shares of our Series B Participating Preferred Stock at an average price of $19.32 per share for a total cost of approximately $0.5 million in the aggregate. The following table represents the activity from the fourth quarter of 2018 under the share repurchase program:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Number

 

Approximate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

of Shares

 

Dollar Value of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchased as

 

Shares that May

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of

 

Yet Be

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

 

 

Publically

 

Purchased

 

Total

 

Average

 

Preferred

 

 

 

 

Announced

 

Under the Share

 

Common Shares

 

Price Paid

 

Shares

 

Average Price

 

Plans or

 

Repurchase

(shares in thousands)

    

Purchased

    

 

per Share

 

Repurchased

 

Paid Per Share

    

Programs

    

Program

October

 

483

 

 

$

6.73

 

 —

 

$

 —

 

 —

 

$

27,333,098

November

 

 —

 

 

 

 —

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 —

 

 

27,333,098

December

 

616

 

 

 

4.96

 

20

 

 

18.40

 

 —

 

 

23,918,166

Total

 

1,099

 

 

$

5.74

 

20

 

$

18.40

 

 —

 

$

23,918,166

 

 

39


 

Table of Contents

Item 6. Selected Financial Data

 

The following selected financial data as of and for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 is derived from our audited consolidated financial statements.  The data should be read in conjunction with, and is qualified in its entirety by reference to, our consolidated financial statements and notes thereto, included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” included in Item 7 of this Annual Report.

 

All periods presented in the table below prior to April 16, 2014, the date of our initial public offering, reflect the operations of our Predecessor. The historical combined financial data for our Predecessor is not necessarily indicative of our results of operations, cash flows or financial position following the completion of our initial public offering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of and for the years ended December 31, 2018

($ in thousands)

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

    

2014

Operating Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total operating revenues

 

$

56,069

 

$

46,219

 

$

31,001

 

$

13,756

 

$

4,218

Net income (loss)

 

$

14,040

 

$

9,158

 

$

5,999

 

$

1,689

 

$

(671)

Per Share Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic net income (loss) available to common stockholders

 

$

(0.01)

 

$

0.03

 

$

0.09

 

$

0.08

 

$

(0.15)

Diluted net income (loss) available to common stockholders

 

$

(0.01)

 

$

0.03

 

$

0.09

 

$

0.08

 

$

(0.15)

Distributions declared per common share

 

$

0.36

 

$

0.51

 

$

0.51

 

$

0.50

 

$

0.33

Basic weighted average common shares outstanding

 

 

32,162

 

 

31,210

 

 

13,204

 

 

9,619

 

 

4,265

Diluted weighted average common shares outstanding

 

 

32,162

 

 

31,210

 

 

13,204

 

 

9,629

 

 

4,265

Supplemental Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EBITDAre(1)

 

$

38,501

 

$

30,711

 

$

17,523

 

$

7,208

 

$

1,030

Adjusted EBITDAre(1)

 

$

40,335

 

$

33,931

 

$

21,624

 

$

8,678

 

$

2,089

FFO(1)

 

$

19,702

 

$

17,150

 

$

7,553

 

$

2,582

 

$

(342)

AFFO(1)

 

$

8,973

 

$

13,514

 

$

11,011

 

$

4,052

 

$

717

Balance Sheet Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

 

$

1,139,509

 

$

1,166,086

 

$

655,529

 

$

344,954

 

$

200,658

Total gross indebtedness

 

$

525,326

 

$

515,833

 

$

309,862

 

$

187,225

 

$

113,878

Total liabilities

 

$

535,968

 

$

530,402

 

$

320,020

 

$

196,726

 

$

117,132

Redeemable non-controlling interest in operating partnership, common units

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

9,694

 

$

 —

Redeemable non-controlling interest in operating partnership, preferred units

 

$

120,510

 

$

120,510

 

$

119,915

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

Series B Participating Preferred Stock

 

 

143,758

 

 

144,223

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Total equity (deficit)

 

$

339,273

 

$

370,951

 

$

215,594

 

$

138,534

 

$

83,526


(1)

For definitions and reconciliations of net income to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDAre, Adjusted EBITDAre, funds from operations, or FFO, and Adjusted FFO, or AFFO, as well as a statement disclosing the reasons why our management believes that EBITDAre, Adjusted EBITDAre, FFO and AFFO provide useful information to investors and, to the extent material any additional purposes for which our management uses such measures, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

40


 

Table of Contents

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

The following analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our financial statements and the notes thereto contained elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Overview and Background

 

We are an internally managed real estate company that owns and seeks to acquire high-quality farmland located in agricultural markets throughout North America. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we own farms with an aggregate of approximately 162,000 acres in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, approximately 75% of our portfolio by value, and 90% by acres, is used to grow primary crops, such as corn, soybeans, wheat, rice and cotton, with the balance used to produce specialty crops, such as blueberries, vegetables, citrus, nuts and edible beans.  We believe our portfolio gives investors exposure to the increasing global food demand trend in the face of growing scarcity of high quality farmland and will reflect the approximate breakdown of U.S. agricultural output between primary crops and animal protein (whose production relies principally on primary crops as feed), on one hand, and specialty crops, on the other. 

 

In addition, in August 2015, we announced the launch of the FPI Loan Program, an agricultural lending product aimed at farmers, as a complement to our primary business of acquiring and owning farmland and leasing it to farmers.  Under the FPI Loan Program, we make loans to third-party farmers (both tenant and non-tenant) to provide financing for working capital requirements and operational farming activities, farming infrastructure projects, and for other farming and agricultural real estate related purposes.

 

We were incorporated in Maryland on September 27, 2013, and we are the sole member of the sole general partner of the Operating Partnership, which is a Delaware limited partnership that was formed on September 27, 2013. All of our assets are held by, and our operations are primarily conducted through, the Operating Partnership and its wholly owned subsidiaries. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K we own 93.2% of the Common units and none of the Series A preferred units nor the Series B Participating Preferred Stock. See Note 9 to our consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding the Series A preferred units.

 

As of December 31, 2018, we owned 87.0% of the Common units in the Operating Partnership.

 

We elected and qualified to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes commencing with our short taxable year ended December 31, 2014.

 

Recent Developments

 

2018 Completed Acquisitions and Dispositions

 

During 2018, we completed six asset acquisitions. Consideration totaled $33.2 million and consisted entirely of cash. No intangible assets were acquired through these acquisitions. We also completed five dispositions for total consideration of $31.9 million for a total gain over net book value of $3.1 million or 9.7%.

 

Stock Repurchase

During 2018, the Company repurchased 3,048,147 shares at an average price per share of $6.76 for a total cost of approximately $20.6 million.

 

Factors That May Influence Future Results of Operations and Farmland Values

 

The principal factors affecting our operating results and the value of our farmland include global demand for food relative to the global supply of food, farmland fundamentals and economic conditions in the markets in which we own farmland, and our ability to increase or maintain rental revenues while controlling expenses. Although farmland prices may show a decline from time to time, we believe that any reduction in U.S. farmland values overall is likely to be short-

41


 

Table of Contents

lived as global demand for food and agricultural commodities typically exceeds global supply. In addition, although prices for many crops experienced significant declines in 2014 and 2015 and many crops have still not recovered to their pre-2014 prices, we do not believe that such declines represent a trend that will continue over the long term. Rather, we believe that long-term growth trends in global population and GDP per capita will result in increased prices for primary crops over time.

 

Demand

 

We expect that global demand for food, driven primarily by significant increases in the global population and GDP per capita, will continue to be the key driver of farmland values. We further expect that global demand for most crops will continue to grow to keep pace with global population growth, which we anticipate will lead to either higher prices and/or higher yields and, therefore, higher rental rates on our farmland, as well as sustained growth in farmland values over the long-term. We also believe that growth in global GDP per capita, particularly in developing nations, will contribute significantly to increasing demand for primary crops. As global GDP per capita increases, the composition of daily caloric intake is expected to shift away from the direct consumption of primary crops toward animal-based proteins, which is expected to result in increased demand for primary crops as feed for livestock. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (“UN FAO”), these factors are expected to require more than one billion additional tons of global annual grain production by 2050, a 43% increase from 2005-2007 levels and more than two times the 446 million tons of grain produced in the United States in 2014.  Furthermore, we believe that, as GDP per capita grows, a significant portion of additional household income is allocated to food and that once individuals increase consumption of, and spending on, higher quality food, they will strongly resist returning to their former dietary habits, resulting in greater inelasticity in the demand for food. As a result, we believe that, as global demand for food increases, rental rates on our farmland and the value of our farmland will increase over the long-term. Global demand for corn and soybeans as inputs in the production of biofuels such as ethanol and soy diesel also could impact the prices of corn and soybeans, which, in the long-term, could impact our rental revenues and our results of operations. However, the success of our business strategy is not dependent on growth in demand for biofuels and we do not believe that demand for corn and soybeans as inputs in the production of biofuels will materially impact our results of operations or the value of our farmland, primarily because we believe that growth in global population and GDP per capita will be more significant drivers of global demand for primary crops over the long-term.

 

Supply

 

Global supply of agricultural commodities is driven by two primary factors, the number of tillable acres available for crop production and the productivity of the acres being farmed. Although the amount of global cropland in use has gradually increased over time, growth has plateaued over the last 20 years.  Cropland area continues to increase in developing countries, but after accounting for expected continuing cropland loss, the UN FAO projects only 173 million acres will be added from 2005-2007 to 2050, an approximate 5% increase. In comparison, world population is expected to grow over the same period to 9.1 billion, a nearly 40% increase. According to the World Bank Group arable land per capita has decreased by approximately 50% from 1961 to 2015. While we expect growth in the global supply of arable land, we also expect that landowners will only put that land into production if increases in commodity prices and the value of farmland cause landowners to benefit economically from using the land for farming rather than alternative uses. We also believe that decreases in the amount of arable land in the United States and globally as a result of increasing urbanization will partially offset the impact of additional supply of farmland. Additionally, we believe that farmland lost to urban development disproportionately impacts higher quality farmland. According to a study published in 2017 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, urban expansion is expected to take place on cropland that is 1.77 times more productive than the global average.The global supply of food is also impacted by the productivity per acre of tillable land. Historically, productivity gains (measured by average crop yields) have been driven by advances in seed technology, farm equipment, irrigation techniques and chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Furthermore, we expect the increasing shortage of water in many irrigated growing regions in the United States and other growing regions around the globe, often as a result of new water restrictions imposed by laws or regulations, to lead to decreased productivity growth on many acres and, in some cases, cause yields to decline on those acres.

 

42


 

Table of Contents

Conditions in Our Existing Markets

 

Our portfolio spans numerous farmland markets and crop types, which provides us broad diversification across conditions in these markets. Across all regions, farmland acquisitions continue to be dominated by buyers who are existing farm owners and operators; institutional and investor acquirors remain a small fraction of the industry. We generally see firm demand for high quality properties across all regions and crop types.

 

With regard to leasing dynamics, we believe quality farmland in the United States has a near-zero vacancy rate as a result of the supply and demand fundamentals discussed above. Our view is that rental rates for farmland are a function of farmland operators’ view of the long-term profitability of farmland, and that many farm operators will compete for farmland even during periods of decreased profitability due to the scarcity of farmland available to rent. In particular, we believe that due to the relatively high fixed costs associated with farming operations (including equipment, labor and knowledge), many farm operators in some circumstances will rent additional acres of farmland when it becomes available in order to allocate their fixed costs over additional acres. Furthermore, because it is generally customary in the industry to provide the existing tenant with the opportunity to re-lease the land at the end of each lease term, we believe that many farm operators will rent additional land that becomes available in order to control the ability to farm that land in future periods. As a result, in our experience, many farm operators will aggressively pursue rental opportunities in their operable geographic area, even when the farmer anticipates lower current returns or short-term losses.

 

In our primary row crop farmland, we see flat to modestly higher rent rates in connection with 2019 lease renewals. This is consistent with, on the one hand, headwinds in primary crop markets and, on the other, tenant demand for leasing high quality farmland. Due to the short term nature of most of our primary crop leases, we believe that a recovery of crop prices and farm profitability will be reflected relatively rapidly in our revenues via increases in rent rates. Across specialty crops, operator profitability generally remains healthy. Participating lease structures are common in many specialty crops and base lease rates are consistent with or slightly higher than 2018. 

 

Lease Expirations

 

Farm leases are often short-term in nature.  As of December 31, 2018 our portfolio had the following lease expirations as a percentage of approximate acres leased and annualized minimum cash rents:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

    

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

% of

 

 

 

 

 

% of

 

($ in thousands)

 

Approximate

 

Approximate

 

 

Annual

 

Annual

 

Year Ending December 31,

    

Acres

    

Acres

    

    

Cash Rents

    

Cash Rents

 

2019

 

57,376

 

36.5

%  

 

$

10,616

 

31.8

%

2020

 

40,196

 

25.6

%  

 

 

10,525

 

31.6

%

2021

 

44,275

 

28.2

%  

 

 

7,921

 

23.7

%

2022

 

9,197

 

5.9

%  

 

 

1,326

 

4.0

%

2023

 

640

 

0.4

%  

 

 

27

 

0.1

%

2024 and beyond

 

5,490

 

3.5

%  

 

 

2,944

 

8.8

%

 

 

157,175

 

100

%  

 

$

33,359

 

100

%

 

We have or are currently negotiating leases on 12,756 total acres.  We expect that rents for primary crop farmland will experience a modest increase in 2019. We expect that rents for specialty crop farmland will be flat to modestly increasing.

 

Rental Revenues

 

Our revenues are primarily generated from renting farmland to operators of farming businesses. Our leases have terms ranging from one to 25 years, with three being the most common.  Although the majority of our leases do not provide the tenant with a contractual right to renew the lease upon its expiration, we believe it is customary to provide the existing tenant with the opportunity to renew the lease, subject to any increase in the rental rate that we may establish. If the tenant elects not to renew the lease at the end of the lease term, the land will be offered to a new tenant.

 

The leases for the majority of the properties in our portfolio provide that tenants must pay us at least 50% of the annual rent in advance of each spring planting season.  As a result, we collect a significant portion of total annual rents in the first

43


 

Table of Contents

calendar quarter of each year.  We believe our use of leases pursuant to which at least 50% of the annual rent is payable in advance of each spring planting season mitigates the tenant credit risk associated with the variability of farming operations that could be adversely impacted by poor crop yields, weather conditions, mismanagement, undercapitalization or other factors affecting our tenants. Tenant credit risk is further mitigated by requiring that our tenants maintain crop insurance and by our claim on a portion of the related proceeds, if any, as well as by our security interest in the growing crop. Prior to acquiring farmland property, we take into consideration the competitiveness of the local farm-operator tenant environment in order to enhance our ability to quickly replace a tenant that is unwilling to renew a lease or is unable to pay a rent payment when it is due.  Some of our leases provide for a reimbursement of the property taxes we pay.

 

Expenses

 

Substantially all of our farm leases are structured in such a way that we are responsible for major maintenance, certain insurance and taxes (which are sometimes reimbursed to us by our tenants), while our tenant is responsible for minor maintenance, water usage and all of the additional input costs related to farming operations on the property, such as seed, fertilizer, labor and fuel. We expect that substantially all of the leases for farmland we acquire in the future will continue to be structured in a manner consistent with substantially all of our existing leases. As the owner of the land, we generally only bear costs related to major capital improvements permanently attached to the property, such as irrigation systems, drainage tile, grain storage facilities, permanent plantings or other physical structures customary for farms. In cases where capital expenditures are necessary, we typically seek to offset, over a period of multiple years, the costs of such capital expenditures by increasing rental rates. We also incur the costs associated with maintaining liability and casualty insurance.

 

We incur costs associated with running a public company, including, among others, costs associated with employing our personnel and compliance costs. We incur costs associated with due diligence and acquisitions, including, among others, travel expenses, consulting fees, and legal and accounting fees. We also incur costs associated with managing our farmland. The management of our farmland, generally, is not labor or capital intensive because farmland generally has minimal physical structures that require routine inspection and maintenance, and our leases, generally, are structured to require the tenant to pay many of the costs associated with the property. Furthermore, we believe that our platform is scalable, and we do not expect the expenses associated with managing our portfolio of farmland to increase significantly as the number of farm properties we own increases over time.

 

Crop Prices

 

We believe short-term crop price changes have had little effect historically on farmland values. They also have a limited impact on our rental revenue, as most of our leases provide for a fixed cash rental rate, a common approach in agricultural markets, especially with respect to row crops, for several reasons.  This approach recognizes that the value of leased land to a tenant is more closely linked to the total revenue produced on the property which is driven by crop yield and crop price. This approach simplifies the administrative requirements for the landlord and the tenant significantly. This approach supports the tenants' desire to maintain access to their leased farms which are in short supply, a concept expanded upon below, by providing the landlord consistent rents. Crop price exposure is also limited because tenants also benefit from the fundamental revenue hedging that occurs when large crop yields mitigate the effect of lower crop prices. Similarly, lower crop yields have a tendency to trigger higher crop prices and help increase revenue even when confronted by a lower crop yields. Such hedging effect also limits the impact of short-term crop price changes on revenues generated by leases with a bonus component based on farm revenues. Further risk mitigation is available to tenants, and indirectly to us, via crop insurance and hedging programs implemented by tenants. Our TRS takes advantage of these risk mitigation programs and strategies also.

We believe quality farmland in the United States has a near-zero vacancy rate as a result of the supply and demand fundamentals. Our view is that rental rates for farmland are a function of farmland operators’ view of the long-term profitability of farmland, and that many farm operators will compete for farmland even during periods of decreased profitability due to the scarcity of farmland available to rent. In particular, we believe that due to the relatively high fixed costs associated with farming operations (including equipment, labor and knowledge), many farm operators in some circumstances will rent additional acres of farmland when it becomes available in order to allocate their fixed costs over additional acres. Furthermore, because it is generally customary in the industry to provide the existing tenant with the opportunity to re-lease the land at the end of each lease term, we believe that many farm operators will rent additional land that becomes available in order to control the ability to farm that land in future periods. As a result, in our experience,

44


 

Table of Contents

many farm operators will aggressively pursue rental opportunities in their operable geography, even when the farmer anticipates lower current returns or short-term losses.

The value of a crop is affected by many factors that can differ on a yearly basis. Weather conditions and crop disease in major crop production regions worldwide creates a significant risk of price volatility, which may either increase or decrease the value of the crops that our tenants produce each year. Other material factors adding to the volatility of crop prices are changes in government regulations and policy, fluctuations in global prosperity, fluctuations in foreign trade and export markets, and eruptions of military conflicts or civil unrest. Prices for many primary crops, particularly corn, experienced meaningful declines in 2014 and 2015, and have still not recovered to their pre-2014 prices. We do not believe such declines represent a trend over the long term. Rather, we believe those declines represented a combination of correction to historical norms (adjusted for inflation) and high yields due to favorable weather patterns. We expect that continued long-term growth trends in global population and GDP per capita will result in increased revenue per acre for primary crops over time. We expect pricing across specialty crops to generally remain firm relative to 2018 as U.S. and global consumer demand remains strong and supply is broadly balanced to demand. Although annual rental payments under the majority of our leases are not based expressly on the quality or profitability of our tenants' harvests, any of these factors could adversely affect our tenants' ability to meet their obligations to us and our ability to lease or re-lease properties on favorable terms.

 

Interest Rates

 

We expect that future changes in interest rates will impact our overall operating performance by, among other things, increasing our borrowing costs. While we may seek to manage our exposure to future changes in rates through interest rate swap agreements or interest rate caps, portions of our overall outstanding debt will likely remain at floating rates. In addition, a sustained material increase in interest rates may cause farmland prices to decline if the rise in real interest rates (which is defined as nominal interest rates minus the inflation rate) is not accompanied by rises in the general levels of inflation. However, our business model anticipates that over time the value of our farmland will increase, as it has in the past, at a rate that is equal to or greater than the rate of inflation, which may in part offset the impact of rising interest rates on the value of our farmland, but there can be no guarantee that this appreciation will occur to the extent that we anticipate or at all.

 

Impact of Trade Tensions

 

As trade tensions have increased between the United States and its key agricultural trading partners, agricultural products have become the target for many international tariff increases. We believe that a prolonged international trade conflict could significantly impact farms and farmers across the United States and that our tenants’ financial results could be negatively impacted. Specifically, trade tensions have reduced the prices our tenants received for soybeans, almonds, and walnuts, among other crops, with an impact on the variable rents we recognized.

 

The U.S. Federal government has announced a farmer safety net program to help farmers impacted by other countries’ newly imposed import tariffs. While we believe this program will help farmers in the United States in the short-term, a prolonged trade conflict may lead to adverse financial results for farms despite the implementation of the safety net program. 

 

The short to medium-term impact on the Company’s financial performance due to a trade conflict may be mitigated by the multi-year term structure of many of our leases and limited to contingent rent components. However, a long-term trade conflict would likely impact our rents and thereby negatively impact our business. Additionally, a long-term trade conflict would likely motivate non-US. agricultural businesses to strengthen their logistics and trade infrastructure. This may also lead to the weakening of U.S. agricultural trade relationships that would be difficult for the United States to reestablish in the future.

 

Impact of Extreme Weather Events

 

Our tenants’ profitability and, to some degree, our variable rent revenue were negatively impacted by extreme weather events in 2018. Specifically, hurricane Michael affected our pecan farms in Alabama and Georgia, and excess rainfall

45


 

Table of Contents

affected several row crop farms in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Furthermore, a heat wave affected an avocado farm in California, with a negative impact expected on 2019 revenue.

 

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

 

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amount of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of our financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual amounts may differ significantly from these estimates and assumptions. We have provided a summary of our significant accounting policies in the notes to the historical consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this filing. We have set forth below those accounting policies that we believe require material subjective or complex judgments and have the most significant impact on our financial condition and results of operations. We evaluate our estimates, assumptions and judgments on an ongoing basis, based on information that is then available to us, our experience and various matters that we believe are reasonable and appropriate for consideration under the circumstances.

 

Real Estate Acquisitions

 

When we acquire farmland where substantially all of the fair value of the gross assets acquired is concentrated in a single identifiable asset or group of similar identifiable assets it is not considered a business. As such, we account for these types of acquisitions as asset acquisitions. When substantially all of the fair value of the gross assets acquired is not concentrated in a single identifiable asset or a group of similar assets and contains acquired inputs, processes and outputs, these acquisitions are accounted for as a business combination.

 

We consider single identifiable assets as tangible assets that are attached to and cannot be physically removed and used separately from another tangible asset without incurring significant cost or significant diminution in utility or fair value. We consider similar assets as assets that have a similar nature and risk characteristics.

 

Whether our acquisitions are treated as an asset acquisition under ASC 360 or a business combination under ASC 805, the fair value of the purchase price is allocated among the assets acquired and any liabilities assumed by valuing the property as if it was vacant.  The “as-if-vacant” value is allocated to land, buildings, improvements, permanent plantings and any liabilities, based on management’s determination of the relative fair values of such assets and liabilities as of the date of acquisition.

 

Upon acquisition of real estate, we allocate the purchase price of the real estate based upon the fair value of the assets and liabilities acquired, which historically have consisted of land, drainage improvements, irrigation improvements, groundwater, permanent plantings (bushes, shrubs, vines, and perennial crops), and grain facilities, and may also consist of intangible assets including in-place leases, above market and below market leases, and tenant relationships. We allocate the purchase price to the fair value of the tangible assets by valuing the land as if it were unimproved. We value improvements, including permanent plantings and grain facilities, at replacement cost, adjusted for depreciation.

 

Our estimates of land value are made using a comparable sales analysis. Factors considered by us in our analysis of land value include soil types and water availability and the sales prices of comparable farms. Our estimates of groundwater value are made using historical information obtained regarding the applicable aquifer.  Factors considered by us in our analysis of groundwater value are related to the location of the aquifer and whether or not the aquifer is a depletable resource or a replenishing resource.  If the aquifer is a replenishing resource, no value is allocated to the groundwater.  We include an estimate of property taxes in the purchase price allocation of acquisitions to account for the expected liability that was assumed. 

 

When above or below market leases are acquired, we value the intangible assets based on the present value of the difference between prevailing market rates and the in-place rates measured over a period equal to the remaining term of the lease for above market leases and the initial term plus the term of any below market fixed rate renewal options for below market leases that are considered bargain renewal options. The above market lease values will be amortized as a reduction of rental income over the remaining term of the respective leases. The fair value of acquired below market leases, included in deferred revenue on the accompanying consolidated balance sheets, is amortized as an increase to rental income

46


 

Table of Contents

on a straight-line basis over the remaining non-cancelable terms of the respective leases, plus the terms of any below market fixed rate renewal options that are considered bargain renewal options of the respective leases.

 

The purchase price is allocated to in-place lease values and tenant relationships, if they are acquired, based on our evaluation of the specific characteristics of each tenant’s lease, availability of replacement tenants, probability of lease renewal, estimated down time, and our overall relationship with the tenant. The value of in-place lease intangibles and tenant relationships will be included as an intangible asset and will be amortized over the remaining lease term (including expected renewal periods of the respective leases for tenant relationships) as amortization expense. If a tenant terminates its lease prior to its stated expiration, any unamortized amounts relating to that lease, including (i) above and below market leases, (ii) in-place lease values, and (iii) tenant relationships, would be recorded to revenue or expense as appropriate. 

 

We capitalize acquisition costs and due diligence costs if the asset is expected to qualify as an asset acquisition. If the asset acquisition is abandoned, the capitalized asset acquisition costs will be expensed to acquisition and due diligence costs in the period of abandonment. Costs associated with a business combination are expensed to acquisition and due diligence costs as incurred.

 

Total consideration for acquisitions may include a combination of cash and equity securities.  When equity securities are issued, we determine the fair value of the equity securities issued based on the number of shares of common stock and Common units issued multiplied by the stock price on the date of closing in the case of common stock and Common units and by liquidation preference in the case of preferred stock and preferred units.

 

Using information available at the time of a business combination, we allocate the total consideration to tangible assets and liabilities and identified intangible assets and liabilities.  During the measurement period, which may be up to one year from the acquisition date, the Company may adjust the preliminary purchase price allocations after obtaining more information about assets acquired and liabilities assumed at the date of acquisition. 

 

Real Estate

 

Our real estate consists of land, groundwater, permanent crops (consisting of trees and vines) and improvements made to the land consisting of grain facilities, irrigation improvements, other assets and drainage improvements. We record real estate at cost and capitalize improvements and replacements when they extend the useful life or improve the efficiency of the asset. We expense costs of repairs and maintenance as such costs are incurred.  We begin depreciating assets when the asset is ready for its intended use.  We compute depreciation and depletion for assets classified as improvements using the straight-line method over the estimated useful life of 10-40 years for grain facilities, 2-40 years for irrigation improvements, 20-65 for drainage improvements, 3-50 years for groundwater, 13-40 years for permanent plantings, and 5-40 years for other assets acquired. We periodically evaluate the estimated useful lives for groundwater based on current state water regulations and depletion levels of the aquifers. 

 

When a sale occurs, we recognize the associated gain when all consideration has been transferred, the sale has closed, and there is no material continuing involvement. If a sale is expected to generate a loss, we first assess it through the impairment evaluation process. See ‘‘—Impairment of Real Estate Assets’’ below.

 

Impairment of Real Estate Assets

 

We evaluate our tangible and identifiable intangible real estate assets for impairment indicators whenever events such as declines in a property’s operating performance, deteriorating market conditions, or environmental or legal concerns bring recoverability of the carrying value of one or more assets into question. If such events are present, we project the total undiscounted cash flows of the asset, including proceeds from disposition, and compare it to the net book value of the asset. If this evaluation indicates that the carrying value may not be recoverable, an impairment loss is recorded in earnings equal to the amount by which the carrying value exceeds the fair value of the asset. There have been no impairments recognized on real estate assets in the accompanying financial statements.

 

47


 

Table of Contents

Inventory of our TRS

 

The costs of growing crop are accumulated until the time of harvest at the lower of cost or market value and are included in inventory in our consolidated financial statements. Costs are allocated to growing crops based on a percentage of the total costs of production and total operating costs that are attributable to the portion of the crops that remain in inventory at the end of the year.  Growing crop consists primarily of land preparation, cultivation, irrigation and fertilization costs incurred by FPI Agribusiness. Growing crop inventory is charged to cost of products sold when the related crop is harvested and sold.

 

Harvested crop inventory includes costs accumulated during both the growing and harvesting phases and is stated at the lower of those costs or the estimated net realizable value, which is the market price, based upon the nearest market in the geographic region, less any cost of disposition.  Cost of disposition includes broker’s commissions, freight and other marketing costs.  

 

Revenue Recognition

 

Rental income includes rents that each tenant pays in accordance with the terms of its lease. Minimum rents pursuant to leases are recognized as revenue on a straight-line basis over the lease term, including renewal options in the case of bargain renewal options. Deferred revenue includes the cumulative difference between the rental revenue recorded on a straight-line basis and the cash rent received from tenants in accordance with the lease terms. Acquired below market leases are included in deferred revenue on the accompanying consolidated balance sheets, which are amortized into rental income over the life of the respective leases, plus the terms of the below market renewal options, if any.

 

Leases in place as of December 31, 2018 had terms ranging from one to twenty five years.  As of December 31, 2018, we had 72 leases over 137 properties with rent escalations. The majority of our leases provide for a fixed annual or semi-annual cash rent payment. Tenant leases on acquired farms generally require the tenant to pay us rent for the entire initial year regardless of the date of acquisition, if the acquisition is closed prior to, or shortly after, planting of crops. If the acquisition is closed later in the year, we typically receive a partial rent payment or no rent payment at all.

 

Certain of our leases provide for a portion of the rent determined as a percentage of the gross farm proceeds. Revenue under leases providing for a payment equal to a percentage of the gross farm proceeds are recorded at the guaranteed crop insurance minimums and recognized ratably over the lease term during the crop year. Upon notification from the grain or packing facility that a future contract for delivery of the harvest has been finalized or when the tenant has notified us of the total amount of gross farm proceeds, revenue is recognized for the excess of the actual gross farm proceeds and the previously recognized minimum guaranteed insurance. Revenue derived from a percentage of the farm gross proceeds that is over and above the crop insurance minimums is recognized once crop price and quantity are known (typically at the time the crops are harvested). As a result, we are only able to recognize revenue from such leases once annually.

 

Certain of our leases provide for minimum cash rent plus a bonus based on gross farm proceeds. Revenue under this type of lease is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term based on the minimum cash rent. Bonus rent is recognized upon notification from the grain or packing facility that a future contract for delivery of the harvest has been finalized or when the tenant has notified us of the total amount of gross farm proceeds

 

Tenant reimbursements include reimbursements for real estate taxes that each tenant pays in accordance with the terms of its lease. When leases require that the tenant reimburse us for property taxes paid by us, the reimbursement is reflected as tenant reimbursement revenue on the statements of operations, as earned, and the related property tax as property operating expense, as incurred.

 

We recognize interest income on notes receivable on an accrual basis over the life of the note. Direct origination costs are netted against loan origination fees and are amortized over the life of the note using the straight-line method, which approximates the effective interest method, as an adjustment to interest income which is included in other revenue in the Company’s Consolidated Statements of Operations for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016.

 

48


 

Table of Contents

Crop sales revenue

 

We record revenue from the sale of harvested crops when the harvested crop has been contracted to be delivered to a grain or packing facility and title has transferred. Harvested crops delivered under marketing contracts are recorded using the fixed price of the marketing contract at the time of delivery to a grain or packing facility. Harvested crops delivered without a marketing contract are recorded using the market price at the date the harvested crop is delivered to the grain or packing facility and title has transferred.

 

Other revenue

 

We recognize interest income on notes receivable on an accrual basis over the life of the note. Direct origination costs are netted against loan origination fees and are amortized over the life of the note using the straight-line method, which approximates the effective interest method, as an adjustment to interest income which is included in other revenue in the Company’s Consolidated Statements of Operations for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016.

 

Income Taxes

 

As a REIT, for income tax purposes we are permitted to deduct dividends paid to our stockholders, thereby eliminating the U.S. federal taxation of income represented by such distributions at the Company level, provided certain requirements are met. REITs are subject to a number of organizational and operational requirements. If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year, we will be subject to U.S. federal income tax (including any applicable alternative minimum tax) on our taxable income at regular corporate tax rates.

 

The Operating Partnership leases certain of its farms to the TRS, which is subject to federal and state income taxes.  We account for income taxes using the asset and liability method under which deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for temporary differences between the financial reporting basis of assets and liabilities and their respective income tax basis and for operating loss, capital loss and tax credit carryforwards based on enacted income tax rates expected to be in effect when such amounts are realized or settled.  However, deferred tax assets are recognized only to the extent that it is more likely than not they will be realized on consideration of available evidence, including future reversals of existing taxable temporary differences, future projected taxable income and tax planning strategies.  There was $(0.2) million in taxable income from the TRS for the year ended December 31, 2018, and $0.03 million in taxable income for the year ended December 31, 2017, and $0.03 million for the year ended December 31, 2016.

 

We perform an annual review for any uncertain tax positions and, if necessary, will record future tax consequences of uncertain tax positions in the financial statements.  An uncertain tax position is defined as a position taken or expected to be taken in a tax return that is not based on clear and unambiguous tax law and which is reflected in measuring current or deferred income tax assets and liabilities for interim or annual periods. At December 31, 2018, we did not identify any uncertain tax positions.

 

When we acquire a property in a business combination, we evaluate such acquisition for any related deferred tax assets or liabilities and determine if a deferred tax asset or liability should be recorded in conjunction with the purchase price allocation.  If a built-in gain is acquired, we evaluate the required holding period (generally 5 years) and determine if we have the ability and intent to hold the underlying assets for the necessary holding period.  If we have the ability to hold the underlying assets for the required holding period, no deferred tax liability will be recorded with respect to the built-in gain. We determined that no deferred tax asset or liability was recorded through the business combination that we undertook during the year ended December 31, 2018.

 

New or Revised Accounting Standards

 

For a summary of the new or revised accounting standards please refer to “Note 1 – Organization and Significant Accounting Policies” within the notes to the combined consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

49


 

Table of Contents

Results of Operations

 

Comparison of the year ended December 31, 2018 to the year ended December 31, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the year ended December 31,

 

 

 

 

 

 

($ in thousands)

    

2018

    

2017

    

$ Change

    

% Change

 

OPERATING REVENUES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rental income

 

$

51,185

 

$

42,956

 

$

8,229

 

19.2

%

Tenant reimbursements

 

 

3,158

 

 

1,909

 

 

1,249

 

65.4

%

Crop Sales

 

 

410

 

 

799

 

 

(389)

 

(48.7)

%

Other revenue

 

 

1,316

 

 

555

 

 

761

 

137.1

%

Total operating revenues

 

 

56,069

 

 

46,219

 

 

9,850

 

21.3

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPERATING EXPENSES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depreciation and depletion

 

 

8,544

 

 

7,792

 

 

752

 

9.7

%

Property operating expenses

 

 

7,834

 

 

5,897

 

 

1,937

 

32.8

%

Acquisition and due diligence costs

 

 

180

 

 

930

 

 

(750)

 

(80.6)

%

General and administrative expenses

 

 

7,477

 

 

7,258

 

 

219

 

3.0

%

Legal and accounting

 

 

2,330

 

 

1,453

 

 

877

 

60.4

%

Other operating expenses

 

 

11

 

 

361

 

 

(350)

 

(97.0)

%

Total operating expenses

 

 

26,376

 

 

23,691

 

 

2,685

 

11.3

%

OPERATING INCOME

 

 

29,693

 

 

22,528

 

 

7,165

 

31.8

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTHER (INCOME) EXPENSE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other income

 

 

(264)