Bipartisan legislation to help family farmers avoid bankruptcy, sponsored by Sen. Doug Jones (D-Alabama) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), has been signed into law by President Donald Trump.
The bill aims to allow farmers to reorganize their debts. Chapter 12 of the U.S. bankruptcy code removes certain costly reorganization requirements intended for large corporations, and the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 raises the Chapter 12 operating debt cap to $10 million, allowing more farmers to seek relief under the program.
“Farming is a tough way to make a living even when everything goes right,” Jones says. “This new law will help family farms and fisheries across the country stay afloat and weather the toughest times.”
Repeated years of low commodity prices, stringent farm lending regulations and recent retaliatory tariffs have taken a toll on the agricultural sector. Farm bankruptcy rates in many farming regions across the country are at their highest point in a decade. In some places in 2018, farm bankruptcies doubled from previous years.
The Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 was supported by the National Farm Bureau. It was also co-sponsored by Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.)