WASHINGTON – A bill to aid family farmers during downturns in the agriculture economy, sponsored by Congressman Antonio Delgado (D, NY-19) was signed into law by President Trump.
The new law eases the process of reorganizing debt through Chapter 12 bankruptcy rules, a tool created specifically to help family farmers during tough economic times.
“Today is a victory for our small and mid-size farmers who now have the flexibility to reorganize their debt and continue operations in what continues to be a challenging time for agriculture,” Delgado said. “In this era of bitter partisanship, I was proud to lead my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass a bipartisan, commonsense bill to help small farmers in New York’s 19th Congressional District during this down farm economy.”
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said the new law “relieves some of the uncertainty farmers are facing due to export market disruptions, weather events and declining farm income. 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.”
The Family Farmer Relief Act was introduced with a Senate companion led by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Doug Jones (D-AL), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Tina Smith (D-MN).
The bill addresses an outdated debt cap that limits eligibility for Chapter 12 bankruptcy relief and has essentially rendered the tool inaccessible to farmers today. Delgado’s bill expands the debt that can be covered under Chapter 12 from $3.2 million to $10 million.
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 keep their doors open during downturns in the farm economy.
The legislation is endorsed by the American Farm Bureau, National Farmers Union, National Corn Growers Association, National Milk Producers Federation, the National Pork Producers Council, and the American Bankruptcy Institute.