Farmers play a big role in helping to sustain this great nation. While food can be hard to come by in other countries, the United States is very fortunate. Farmers, without skipping a beat, provide our communities with fruits, vegetables and meats. From raising livestock to growing crops, we owe a lot of gratitude to these hard-working Americans.
A Growing Trend
Unfortunately, the number of farms are on the decline. In fact, that’s been the case for about the last fifty years. In 2012, the United States had 2.1 million farms, down 4.3 percent from the previous agricultural census in 2007. This long-term trend of fewer farms remains unchanged, according to the USDA.
So what’s to blame for the reduction in farms? While reasons vary from farm to farm, we can certainly think of a few. Droughts, floods, extreme cold weather, rising costs, competition from overseas markets—these are just some of the obstacles farmers today face. Some in the farming industry survive them. Others, sadly, struggle to.
Chapter 12 Bankruptcy
In some instances, a farmer may find it necessary to file for bankruptcy. While it can be a scary word, bankruptcy can be beneficial to cash-strapped farmers who can no longer pay their debts. Bankruptcy offers financial protection, allowing farmers to get a fresh start by liquidating assets to pay their debts or by creating a repayment plan.
While there are certain rules to qualify for this measure, Chapter 12 provides debt relief specifically to farmers earning a regular annual income from their business. Under chapter 12, debtors will recommend a repayment plan to make installments to creditors over three to five years.
To ultimately find out if you qualify for this type of protection, consult with an experienced law firm. For additional information on Chapter 12 bankruptcy, click here.
Bankruptcy Does Not Signal “The End”
For financially devastated farmers, filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the business. The truth is most farmers are able to continue their farming operations even after they file for bankruptcy. They certainly have that right, too.
When a farmer files for Chapter 12, he or she receives automatic protection from lawsuits, foreclosure proceedings and debt collectors. This protective measure gives farmers ample time to resolve debt problems and regroup. In doing so, many farmers are able to still keep their farm, home, equipment—and in many cases continue business as usual.
For farmers who opt to continue farming even after filing for bankruptcy, there is a downside, however. Filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy can often lead to higher interest rates on new agricultural loans in the future.
On the plus side, it can truly help farmers drowning in debt rise above it. That way they can keep the family farm operational for many more years to come.
Do You Need Our Help?
If you are a farmer overwhelmed in massive debt, Charles L. Smith and Nicole Hughes, bankruptcy lawyers at Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP are ready to help. We take the time to assess your overall financial situation and present all of your options. We’re there for you every step of the way. By choosing our law firm, we can give you the financial footing you need to get a fresh start. Contact us today at 712-309-3738.