Farms Exceeding Chapter 12 Bankruptcy Debt Limits - ABI

While farming has changed in many ways since the 1980s, many aspects of agricultural bankruptcy are similar today, although some are now questioning whether the provisions of chapter 12 have kept pace with the growth of modern agriculture, the (Iowa) Globe Gazette reported Friday. Joseph Peiffer, a bankruptcy attorney in Iowa, said more than half of the farmers that have been coming into his office over the past two years have not qualified for chapter 12 because they had aggregate debts in excess of the current inflation-adjusted limit of $4,153,150. The debt limit for chapter 12 became tied to inflation in 2005. Before that, the limit was $1.5 million. “The debt of family farmers has increased far faster than the rate of inflation,” Peiffer said. “That’s why the debt limit, I believe, is too small.” He added that nearly half of his clients who do not qualify for the current debt limit would still not qualify with a $10 million limit.

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