A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found the number of farm bankruptcies in the upper Midwest has more than doubled in the last four years and Wisconsin agriculture experts expect more cases to be filed in 2019.
From June 2017 to June 2018, eighty-four farms in the bank’s 9th District filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy, a chapter reserved for farmers and fishermen. The district includes Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana.
Wisconsin lead the region with 50 Chapter 12 bankruptcies. That’s 12 more than were filed during the previous year.
Paul Mitchell, director of the Renk Agribusiness Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said he thinks that number will be even higher in 2019.
"This is the time of year when the operating loans for the 2018 crop, the final payments are due and (farmers) are often renegotiating to get new operating loans to put in the 2019 crop," Mitchell said.
If farmers can’t pay off this year’s operating loan, Mitchell said they’re probably falling behind on other bills like mortgage payments and loans taken out through machinery or input suppliers.
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