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The Agriculture Department projects that farm incomes will reach $88 billion in 2019 but nearly 40% of that — $33 billion — will come from trade aid, disaster assistance, the farm bill and insurance indemnities, according to a new report by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).
Why it matters: Farmers — a critical constituency for President Trump in the 2020 presidential election — are feeling the squeeze from China’s retaliatory tariffs, extreme weather and record-high farm debt that's driving farm bankruptcies.
By the numbers: In a 12-month period ending in September 2019, Chapter 12 farm or fishery bankruptcies totaled 580 filings, up 24% from a year earlier and the most since 2011, when 676 chapter 12 bankruptcies were filed.
- Wisconsin experienced the highest Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings at 48 filings, followed by 37 filings in Georgia, Nebraska and Kansas.
- Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia reported Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings on par with or above 10-year highs
- Yes, but: The AFBF noted that the Chapter 12 filings remain well below the historical highs in the 1980s.
The big picture: "The support provided to farmers in 2018 and 2019 is expected to alleviate some of the financial stress, however, not all farmers will benefit from trade assistance, farm bill programs, crop insurance or disaster aid. As a result, it could take some time for the financial relief to manifest in the farm bankruptcy trends," per the AFBF.