The Senate passed a bill on Aug. 1 that would ease the process of reorganizing debt through Chapter 12 bankruptcy. The bill makes more farms eligible for protection by increasing the debt limit from $4.2 million to $10 million.
“With farm bankruptcies at a record high in some regions of the country, Senate passage of the Family Farmer Relief Act sends an important signal to family farmers and ranchers that our elected officials are willing to act in these challenging times,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “The bill gives more farmers an opportunity to qualify for financial restructuring so they can keep their land and livelihoods.”
“Chronic overproduction, an ongoing international trade war, and a series of extreme weather events have created a perfect storm for the farm economy,” said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson. “Farm debt is at a record high, and too many operations have been pushed to the brink financially. The Family Farmer Relief Act will help more family farmers access Chapter 12 relief, giving them a fighting chance to stay in business.”
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 on March 27. Bill cosponsors included Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, D-Minn., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. The bill, H.R. 2336, passed on a voice vote. It passed the House on July 25.
Rep. TJ Cox, D-Calif., introduced the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 in the House. Cox partnered with Reps. Antonio Delgado, D-N.Y., Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., and Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., to introduce the legislation.
The bill awaits the president’s signature.
What others are saying.
The increase in the debt cap reflects the increase in land values as well as the growth in the average size of U.S. farming operations. – Feedstuffs
The Family Farmer Relief Act will help family farmers reorganize after falling on hard times, which more are experiencing due to the uncertainty of export markets and declining commodity prices. – Farm Bureau News
Critics of the bill argued that doubling the limit in a single bill is a rash response, arguing for an incremental increase. - JDSupra