Report: Bankruptcies Surge 74% Among Northwest Family Farms

Family farms are filing for bankruptcy at a heightened rate, increasingly worrying economists.

An American Farm Bureau Federation analysis of recent data shows that the number of family farms seeking bankruptcy protection grew 24 percent over the last year, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Family farm bankruptcies are rising the fastest in the Northwest corridor of the United States.

“We’ve seen low crop prices, low livestock prices for a number of years now,” said chief economist John Newton. “On the back, now, of that we have the trade war where agriculture’s been unfairly retaliated against.”

Newton monitors Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings, which is a bankruptcy protection meant to help family farmers reorganize and continue farming.

However, 580 family farms nationwide have filed for bankruptcy in the 12-month period ending in September 2019, which Newton considers to be a sign of poor health.

The Northwest has seen 33 family farms file for Chapter 12 protection, representing a 74 percent increase over the previous year.

“These are family farms. And these are family farms that are having to restructure their debt due to tough financial conditions in agriculture,” Newton said.

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