Farm bankruptcies jumped by almost 20 percent last year, according to court data put together by the American Farm Bureau Federation. Overall, there were almost 600 Chapter 12 family farm bankruptcies in 2019, up from almost 100 filings the previous year.
Wisconsin was hit the hardest, with 57 family farms filing for bankruptcy in 2019, while Georgia was second with 41. Almost half of the nation’s filings took place in the Midwest, which totaled 46 percent of the bankruptcies. Twenty-two percent of the filings took place in the Southeast U.S.
In spite of the numbers, last year’s filings didn’t come close to the all-time high of a 33 percent increase back in 2010, the year after the Great Recession. Over the past ten years, there have been more than 5,000 farm bankruptcies. That number represents a quarter of one percent of all farm operations.
Given that there are just over two million farms in the U.S., the 2019 bankruptcy rate is about 2.95 bankruptcies per 10,000 farms. On a year-over-year basis, Chapter 12 filings have increased for five consecutive quarters.