A federal order has stalled foreclosure proceedings against farmers in 15 states. At issue is a provision of the federal Agricultural Credit Act of 1987, which allowed people struggling through a deep slump in the farm industry to write off or refinance government loans. Some farmers signed ten-year agreements that have come to an end only to find some bankers telling them the federal loans aren’t forgiven, but that they have to pay half the difference between the farm’s value then and what it’s worth today. That “shared appreciation” was supposed to protect taxpayers, but farmers say it only applies if they sold their land or quit farming. At stake could be the farms of 106 plaintiffs in states including Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and the Dakotas.
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