OFW Law’s Ken Ackerman was featured in an Agri-Pulse article discussing the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA). In the article, “While Foreign Purchases of US Land Surge, USDA’s Reporting Penalties Plunge,” Mr. Ackerman discussed his experience in representing clients on AFIDA matters.
AFIDA is a law administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). Under AFIDA, foreign companies or governments must disclose purchases of agricultural property to FSA. Long-term leases (10 or more years) of agricultural properties must also be reported. AFIDA provides for significant financial penalties for companies that fail to make required disclosures unless they can show mitigating circumstances.
Congress adopted the AFIDA law in 1978 law to empower USDA to track foreign acquisitions of agricultural and timber properties. In recent years, AFIDA has received increasing scrutiny as some lawmakers have expressed concerns about the national security implications of foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land. Just this week, Kevin McCarthy, the leading candidate to become Speaker of the House in the new Republican-led Congress, included among his announced priorities plans to probe China’s acquisition of agricultural land in the United States. Foreign investments in green energy projects, such as wind and solar farms, often trigger AFIDA disclosure requirements. These projects can include long-term leases and are frequently located on land that has recently been used for agricultural purposes.
Mr. Ackerman is an attorney in OFW Law’s agricultural law and government relations practices. Mr. Ackerman focuses his practice on crop insurance programs, other USDA programs (including AFIDA), and cases before the USDA National Appeals Division. Prior to joining OFW Law, Mr. Ackerman served as Administrator of the USDA Risk Management Agency and Manager of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.