Shared Appreciation Agreements: Confusion and Mismanagement Threatens Family FarmersDrake Journal of Agricultural Law (2002)
To date, there have been almost 12,000 Shared Appreciation Agreements between American family farmers and the Farm Service Agency (“FSA”). Many of these agreements were entered into ten or more years ago as a result of the farm financial crisis of the 1980s. As these contracts reach the end of their term, the FSA is claiming a right to recover fifty percent of whatever appreciation has occurred in the farm land over the last ten years. Some argue that these agreements were never supposed to be enforced against farmers who stayed on the land for the term of the agreement.2 Many farmers assert that they cannot afford to pay and FSA collection efforts will result in the forced sale of family farms throughout the country.
This article analyzes the legal obligations associated with Shared Appreciation Agreements (“SAAs”), focusing on the agreements signed by family farmers who survived the 1980s farm crisis and who continue to operate family sized farms. The story of these farmers and the interpretation of the SAAs that they signed reveals a lack of foresight on the part of the government, naivety on behalf of farmers, and disturbing inequities. Not only did many farmers misunderstand the legal significance of the contracts they signed, post-contract regulatory changes have altered the government‟s interpretation of the contract and its policy toward enforcement.
Citation InformationSusan A Schneider. "Shared Appreciation Agreements: Confusion and Mismanagement Threatens Family Farmers" Drake Journal of Agricultural Law (2002)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/susan-schneider/17/