WASHINGTON D.C. - Chapter 12 farm bankruptcy filings in 2020 were the third highest over the last decade, despite a decline in 2020, according to American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist John Newton.

“For 2020, we had 552 Chapter 12 family farm bankruptcies. That was down about seven percent from what we saw in 2019, 43 filings less than last year.”

Newton says the agriculture sector is not out of the woods yet. Chapter 12 bankruptcy is often the last option for farmers and ranchers.

“It’s not something that folks make lightly and it’s not something that happens just with one bad year. We’ve had several years of low commodity prices, and while things have turned around this year, I doubt that the improvements this year saved anybody from ultimately having to make that unfortunate decision to seek Chapter 12 reorganization.”

He says this whole year nearly, everyone has been in a remote work environment, and with 230,000 fewer filings this past year, you might attribute that to the difficulty trying to file a case remotely.