Nov 27, 2018

Farm bankruptcies surpass Great Recession levels in upper Midwest

Photo by: Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images

An analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found that 84 farm operations in the upper Midwest filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy from June 2017 to June 2018.

Why it matters: The number of bankruptcies filed by these farm operations is double the total from 2014 and even surpassed the mark hit in 2010 at the peak of the Great Recession. Current price levels and trends suggest the number will continue to rise, according to the report.

Details: The report examines filings from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minneapolis, Montana and Wisconsin.

  • Most of the farm bankruptcies were filed in Wisconsin at 50 total. Minnesota had 20 and South Dakota had 12. Both Montana and North Dakota each had one bankruptcy.

The state of play: Agriculture commodity prices have flatlined over the last year — with prices freezing on soybeans, milk, corn and beef. Farmers have also been hampered by President Trump's retaliatory tariffs on China, which particularly dampened foreign demand for U.S. soybeans.

Yes, but: A mixed Congress may bring a bit of relief to farmers. The push to get a farm bill done before the next session of Congress begins in January may result in renewed negotiations that restore protections for farmers.

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