The US Senate has unanimously passed the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) to help family farms reorganize after falling on hard times. The legislation previously passed the House and now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
“Farmers in North Carolina and across the country are reeling from low commodity prices and natural disasters that will take years to recover from,” said Senator Tillis. “As these farmers rebuild their reserves, they deserve protections during this delicate time when so much could go wrong that is outside of their control. I’m proud the Senate unanimously passed our bipartisan legislation which gives our farmers and their families relief, and I look forward to President Trump signing it into law.”
Recognizing the unique challenges that family farmers and fishers face, Congress established Chapter 12 of the U.S. bankruptcy code, which removes certain costly reorganization requirements intended for large corporations. The Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 raises the Chapter 12 operating debt cap to $10 million, allowing more family farmers to seek relief under the program.
Several years of low commodity prices, stringent farm lending regulations and market uncertainty have taken a toll on America’s agriculture producers. 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 the previous year. Debts held by farmers are nearing historic levels set in the 1980s, further financially extending farm operations.
The Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation.