|TEV||702||TEV/EBIT||25||TTM 2019-09-30, in MM, except price, ratios|
|8-K||2020-12-07||Enter Agreement, Sale of Shares, Officers, Regulation FD, Exhibits|
|Item 1. Business|
|Item 1A. Risk Factors|
|Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments|
|Item 2. Properties|
|Item 3. Legal Proceedings|
|Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures|
|Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities|
|Item 6. Selected Financial Data|
|Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations|
|Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk|
|Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data|
|Item 9. Changes and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure|
|Item 9A. Controls and Procedures|
|Item 9B. Other Information|
|Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance|
|Item 11. Executive Compensation|
|Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters|
|Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence|
|Item 14. Principal Accountant Fees and Services|
|Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules|
|Item 16. Form 10 - K Summary|
|Note 1 - Organization and Significant Accounting Policies|
|Note 2 - Revenue Recognition|
|Note 3 - Concentration Risk|
|Note 4 - Related Party Transactions|
|Note 5 - Real Estate|
|Note 6 - Notes Receivable|
|Note 7 - Mortgage Notes, Lines of Credit and Bonds Payable|
|Note 8 - Commitments and Contingencies|
|Note 9 - Stockholders' Equity and Non - Controlling Interests|
|Note 10 - Quarterly Financial Information (Unaudited)|
|Note 11 - Subsequent Events|
|Note 12 - Hedge Accounting|
|Balance Sheet||Income Statement||Cash Flow|
Rev, G Profit, Net Income
Ops, Inv, Fin
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
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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.
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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 has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes
As of June 30, 2020, 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 $
As of March 15, 2021, the registrant had
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Portions of the registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement relating to its 2021 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, 2020.
FARMLAND PARTNERS Inc.
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2020
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 pending acquisitions and dispositions, projections, predictions, expectations, estimates or forecasts as to our business, financial and operational results, future stock repurchases, our dividend policy, future economic performance, crop yields and prices and future rental rates for our properties, 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: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to reduce its spread on our business and on the economy and capital markets generally, 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, the outcomes of ongoing litigation, our ability to identify new acquisitions or dispositions and close on pending acquisitions or dispositions and the other factors described in the risk factors described in Item 1A, “Risk Factors” of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, and in other documents that we file from time to time with the SEC. Given these uncertainties, 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.
Summary Risk Factors
Our business is subject to a number of risks, including risks that may prevent us from achieving our business objectives or may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and prospects. These summary risks provide an overview of many of the risks we are exposed to in the normal course of our business and which are discussed more fully in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” herein. These risks include, but are not limited to, the following:
|•||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 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.|
|•||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.|
|•||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.|
|•||Approximately 70% 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.|
|•||Investments in farmland used for specialty crops, through participating rest structures, leave us with a heightened exposure to the risks associated with those crops, especially in terms of yield and price volatility, and limited diversification.|
|•||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.|
|•||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.|
|•||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.|
|•||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.|
|•||Some state laws, including in certain states where we own property, 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.|
|•||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.|
|•||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.|
|•||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.|
|•||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.|
|•||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 may change our strategies, policies and procedures without stockholder approval.|
|•||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.|
|•||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.|
|•||Complying with the REIT requirements may cause us to forego otherwise attractive opportunities or sell properties earlier than we wish.|
|•||We may be unable to make distributions at expected levels, which could result in a decrease in the market price of our common stock.|
Item 1. Business
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 an internally managed public farmland real estate investment trust, with a portfolio spanning approximately 155,000 acres across 16 states as of December 31, 2020. 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 70% of our farmland portfolio (by value) is used to grow primary crops, such as corn, soybeans, wheat, rice and cotton, and the remaining 30% is used to grow specialty crops, such as almonds, citrus, blueberries, vegetables 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 reflects 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, 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 first quarter of 2021 we are also engaged in farmland asset management on behalf of third parties.
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 95.4% 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 improvements on our farms, such as irrigation, drainage and grain storage facilities. We also may acquire properties related to farming, such as stand-alone grain storage facilities, grain elevators, feedlots, processing plants and distribution centers, as well as livestock farms or ranches. In addition, we engage 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 3,676 acres during 2020) relying on custom farming contracts with local farm operators.
Some of our real estate is used for solar and wind energy production by operators with long term leases on our properties. Currently, fourteen of our farms have leases for renewable energy production, and seven of our farms have lease options for potential future solar or wind development.
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.
Full Year 2020 and Recent Highlights
|●||Operating revenues decreased 5.4% from 2019 for a total of $50.7 million as compared to 2019 operating revenues of $53.6 million;|
|●||Operating income decreased 15.2% from 2019 for a total of $22.3 million as compared to 2019 net operating income of $26.3 million;|
|●||Net income decreased 49.3% from 2019 for a total of $7.5 million as compared to 2019 net income of $14.9 million;|
|●||Adjusted Funds from Operations (“AFFO”) decreased 59.5% from 2019 for a total of $1.8 million as compared to 2019 AFFO of $4.4 million;|
|●||We completed three asset acquisitions for total gross consideration of $1.4 million;|
|●||We completed seven dispositions consisting of eleven farms for total gross consideration of $20.5 million resulting in an aggregate gain on sale of $3.2 million;|
|●||We repurchased approximately 1.0 million shares of our common stock at a weighted average price of $6.59 per share, or approximately $6.8 million in the aggregate; and|
|●||We repurchased approximately 140,000 shares of our Series B Participating Preferred Stock at a weighted average price of $22.08 per share, or approximately $3.1 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.”
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. We may also invest in other agriculture related business, typically through our TRS.
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 70% primary crop farmland and 30% 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 vs. 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
According to the USDA, as of 2019, approximately 98% 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.
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.|
|●||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.
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, 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 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 largely the same way we conduct due diligence on potential farm acquisitions, and we screen potential borrowers using criteria similar to those used to screen potential tenants. The FPI Loan Program offering gives us an increased visibility in the marketplace, thereby benefiting our core farmland investing business.
Asset Management for Third Parties
We believe that our existing systems and personnel are well suited to source, diligence, close and manage farmland on behalf of third parties at little or no additional cost to us, generating fee income that does not tie up our own capital. We started engaging in this business though our TRS in the first quarter of 2021, when we entered into an agreement to manage a portfolio of properties located in opportunity zones.
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.
As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we own approximately 150,000 total acres of farmland. During the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company completed three acquisitions in Illinois and Michigan, which were accounted for as asset acquisitions. Consideration totaled $1.4 million and was comprised of cash and reduction of notes receivable. Also during the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company completed seven dispositions consisting of eleven farms in Illinois, Mississippi, Texas, Nebraska, and Arkansas. Cash receipts on these dispositions totaled $20.1 million with a total gain on sale of $3.2 million. On January 20, 2021, we entered into an agreement with Promised Land Opportunity Zone Farms I, LLC (the “OZ Fund”) to sell, throughout 2021, twelve farms located in opportunity zones as designated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and to provide farm management services on the farms for the OZ Fund in exchange for management fees going forward. On March 5, 2021, the Company completed the sale of nine farms to the OZ Fund. These sales are not reflected in the table below. See “Managements’ Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for more information about our portfolio. The distribution of farms by regions is as follows:
Delta and South
Corn Belt includes farms located in Illinois, Michigan and eastern Nebraska. Delta and South includes farms located in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. High Plains includes farms located in Colorado, Kansas, western Nebraska, and South Dakota. Southeast includes farms located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. West Coast includes farms located in California.
As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, our portfolio has the following rents or rent estimates for 2021 by lease type or status. This table does not include additional rents from properties not yet put in service due to improvement projects, loan interest income from loans outstanding under the FPI Loan Program, and other revenues:
($ in thousands)
Lease Type or Status - as of the date of this Annual Report
Leases in place with third parties
Fixed rent (1)
Variable rent (2)
Leases being negotiated (3)
|(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.|
|(3)||Management’s 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.|
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 are not 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.
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.
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 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.
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.”
Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”)
We believe a commitment to ESG supports our business model, promotes environmental stewardship, sustains a safe and healthy workplace, and upholds high standards of business ethics and conduct.
Farmland is one of the most environmentally friendly uses of real estate, as agriculture naturally uses solar energy to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into food, feed, fuel, and fiber. Principles of environmental sustainability are deeply interwoven into modern agricultural practices, and are embedded into our farmland acquisition criteria and management practices. We foster long term relationships with our tenants, who are incentivized to provide good stewardship for the land they rent from us. Renewable energy generation (wind and solar) is a component of our business model of growing importance.
Social Impact and Company Culture
Farmland creates a more sustainable future for all by affordably feeding the world’s growing population and supplying food products that support better nutrition, both quantitatively and qualitatively. We are a channel to bring capital, and therefore economic activity, to rural communities throughout the United States. We foster a company culture based on open communication and professional growth, and support employees engaged with non-profit organizations.
Governance Fiduciary Duties and Ethics
We recognize that transparency and employing an array of best practices in corporate governance better serves all stakeholders. Our board of directors, management team and employees maintain the highest ethical standards across our processes, business practices, and policies.
Going forward, we intend to maintain and expand our focus on ESG principles already embedded in our culture, policies and practices, gradually implementing efforts to measure, improve and communicate our performance. We expect our ESG objectives and the resources allocated to ESG matters will continue to evolve over time as we assess strategies that are most appropriate for our organization
Competition 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. These firms engage in the acquisition, asset management, valuation and disposition of farmland properties.
Human Capital Resources
Our employees are vital to our success. Our goal is to ensure that we have the right talent, in the right place, at the right time. We do that through our commitment to attracting, developing and retaining our employees.
We have designed a compensation structure, including an array of benefit and long term incentive plans, that we believe is attractive to our current and prospective employees. We also offer employees the opportunity to participate in conferences and continuing education.
We seek to retain our employees by using their feedback to create and continually enhance programs that support their needs. We have a formal performance review process for our employees. We have a values-based culture, an important factor in retaining our employees. We are committed to having a diverse workforce, and an inclusive work environment is a natural extension of our culture.
At March 15, 2021, we had 14 employees, 11 of which are full time. None of our employees are a member of a labor union.
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.
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. The information accessible on our website is not incorporated in, nor should be considered a part of, this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
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 preferred 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, trade or regulatory conditions. We are susceptible to any decline in the profitability of our tenants' farming operations, to the extent that it would impact their ability to pay rents. 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.
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, 2020, we had approximately $508.2 million of outstanding indebtedness, most of which is secured by mortgages on our farms. We intend to incur additional debt in connection with refinancings of existing indebtedness, 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. On January 29, 2021, the Company entered into an agreement with Farm Credit Mid-America to extend the maturities on our $112.0 million of outstanding debt maturing on January 1, 2022, to April 1, 2022. In addition, we have sold farms in order to repay indebtedness in the past and may do so in the future. Such dispositions may come at inopportune times or on disadvantageous tems, 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 we default on our debt coming due in 2022, it could cause the acceleration of a significant portion of our indebtedness as a result of these cross-default provisions 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.
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, 2020, we had approximately $508.2 million 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.|
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 stockholders, 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. For more information about our ongoing legal proceedings, see Item 3, Legal Proceedings, included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Approximately 70% 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 70% 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.
Investments in farmland used for permanent/specialty crops have a different risk profile than farmland used for annual row crops.
By value, approximately 30% 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 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
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.
Our leases with tenants engaged in farming operations have terms customary in the farming industry, ranging mostly from two to three years for row crops and one to seven years for permanent crops, with some permanent crop leases exceeding twenty years. We expect that most of the leases we enter into in the future will have two to seven-year terms. As a result, we are 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
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, including conditions that are out of our control, such as actions or proposed actions of the new U.S. Presidential administration, the impact of health and safety concerns, such as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic;|
|●||novel and unforeseen market volatility and trading strategies, such as the massive short squeeze-rally caused by retail investors on retail trading platforms;|
|●||the market's view of the quality of our assets;|
|●||the market's perception of our growth potential;|