In the years since 2013, farmers across America have endured hardships due to the decreasing real value of agricultural produce such as livestock and crops. Shockingly, between the years of 2013 and 2016, there was a reported 45 percent decrease in the net income of farms across America, on average. This is the biggest drop over three years that have been recorded in recent history.
Why are farms struggling?
Farmers have largely become victim to federal policies that have favored the growth of large corporations, leaving the agricultural industry to battle with lower prices, making it increasingly difficult to earn a decent wage.
What this means for the future
Due to the severe drop in net income, farmers have been struggling to make a profit, many being driven into every accumulating debt since 2013, due to no fault of their own. Farmers are being driven into a corner, but many are starting to diversify their offering of what they produce in order to make a financial recovery and break into a new market.
Making a recovery
As farmers start to think outside the box, perhaps in deciding on a new revenue source that they believe will generate a higher profit, for example vegan cheese production, the main burden becomes their already accumulated debt. A great solution to this can be to file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy for farms, which allows farmers to propose a plan to repay their debts over 5 years, while possibly generating a new income.
If you have any questions about how you can get your farm and your finances back on track, an experienced attorney can provide guidance on your legal options.
Source: Farm aid, “American farm crisis,” Oct. 08, 2017