Ag News

Trump signs bill providing debt relief to more family farmers

On Aug. 23 President Donald Trump signed the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019, a measure that raises the Chapter 12 debt limit from $4.1 million to $10 million.

The law will help family farmers struggling with export market disruptions, weather events and declining farm income, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall said.

“It will help family farmers reorganize after falling on hard times by increasing the debt limit for relief eligibility under the Chapter 12 bankruptcy code,” Duvall said. “While this is a sobering reflection of the current state of the agricultural economy, we are grateful to Congress, the president and his administration for their prioritization of reforming our current bankruptcy laws.”

According to AFBF, deteriorating financial conditions are affecting farmers and ranchers’ abilities to meet their obligations. AFBF analysis of court records show that there were 29 Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies filed in Georgia from July 2018 to June 2019. Only Wisconsin (45), Kansas (39) and Minnesota (31) had more.

Chapter 12 bankruptcies provide a seasonal repayment schedule over a three- to five-year period and lower costs relative to other types of bankruptcies.