Bipartisan Family Farmer Relief Act Signed Into Law – Expands the Debt that can be Covered Under Chapter 12

A news release this week from Representative Antonio Delgado (D., N.Y.) stated that, “[Rep.  Delgado’s] bill to aid family farmers during downturns in the agriculture economy was signed into law by President Trump. H.R. 2336, The Family Farmer Relief Act, eases the process of reorganizing debt through Chapter 12 bankruptcy rules, a tool created specifically to help family farmers during tough economic times. Delgado introduced the legislation in April with support from House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), and Reps. TJ Cox (D-Calif.), Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.). This legislation passed the House on July 26, the Senate on August 2, and was signed into law today, August 23, 2019.

“‘Today is a victory for our small and mid-size farmers who now have the flexibility to reorganize their debt and continue operations in what continues to be a challenging time for agriculture. In this era of bitter partisanship, I was proud to lead my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass a bipartisan, commonsense bill to help small farmers in New York’s 19th Congressional District during this down farm economy. Today, the President signed the Family Farmer Relief Act into law—following bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.’ Delgado continued, ‘I thank my bipartisan, bicameral partners for their work to move this legislation through the House and Senate and to bring this urgent relief to our farmers. While the Family Farmer Relief Act is an important first step—our work is not done. I will continue to fight for small and mid-size farmers across our region during this downturn in the farm economy.'”

The release added that, “The Family Farmer Relief Act was introduced with a Senate companion led by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Doug Jones (D-AL), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Tina Smith (D-MN). The bill addresses an outdated debt cap of that limits eligibility for Chapter 12 bankruptcy relief and has essentially rendered the tool inaccessible to farmers today. Delgado’s bill expands the debt that can be covered under Chapter 12 from $3,237,000 to $10,000,000. The changes reflect the increase in land values, as well as the growth over time in the average size of U.S. farming operations and are meant to provide farmers additional options to  keep their doors open during downturns in the farm economy. The legislation is endorsed by the American Farm Bureau, National Farmers Union, National Corn Growers Association, National Milk Producers Federation, the National Pork Producers Council, and the American Bankruptcy Institute.”

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