Before adjourning for the August in-district work period, the U.S. Senate passed Rep. Antonio Delgado’s bipartisan legislation to ease the process of reorganizing debt through Chapter 12 bankruptcy — a move to assist farmers during this down farm economy. The Family Farmer Relief Act now awaits President Donald Trump’s signature.
The bill expands the debt cap that can be covered under Chapter 12 bankruptcy from $3,237,000 to $10,000,000. The changes reflect the increase in land values, as well as the growth over time in the average size of U.S. farming operations and are meant to provide farmers additional options to manage keep their doors open during downturns in the farm economy.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “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. The bill gives more farmers an opportunity to qualify for financial restructuring so they can keep their land and livelihoods. We are eager for the President’s signing of this bill and appreciate the leadership of Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and all the cosponsors for their support of America’s farmers and ranchers.”
Delgado (D-NY) introduced H.R. 2336, the Family Farmer Relief Act in April along with House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Reps. TJ Cox (D-CA), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD). The House passed H.R. 2336 on July 26, following Rep. Delgado’s testimony on the floor.
The National Farmers Union endorsed the legislation when it was first introduced in April, as it would help more family farmers avoid liquidation or foreclosure. NFU President Roger Johnson said, “Chronic overproduction, an ongoing international trade war, and a series of extreme weather events have created a perfect storm for the farm economy. 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. We applaud Congress for passing this important legislation, and we urge President Trump to swiftly enact it into law.”