Farms on the Margins: Debt Figures Raise Questions of Whether Farm Debt is on Cruise Control
Joe Peiffer recently chatted with Chris Clayton of Progressive Farmer/DTN regarding the current farm situation. Article: https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/Ag/news/business-inputs/article/2019/03/19/debt-figures-raise-questions-whether
“Right now, we’re having many people find out shortly before they have to pay rent that they aren’t going to have financing,” said Peiffer, who works with farmers in Iowa and Illinois.
Some of these farmers needed millions to pay rent. Peiffer said they didn’t all get financing. Farmers who gave up rented ground run the risk of being sued for any shortfall landlords experience if they must lower rent to secure a new tenant.
Some of the increased financial work is with farmers trying to head off a crisis. Peiffer is spending more time with farmers trying to get their liabilities below the Chapter 12 bankruptcy limit of $4,153,150. Peiffer and others, including Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., believe the debt limit for Chapter 12 needs to be raised. “There are a lot of farmers, even when not talking about lease debt, who are over the top,” Peiffer said.
“While Chapter 12 is a wonderful chapter for bankruptcy, many people who aren’t necessarily farming that many acres can’t qualify for it because their debts are too high.
“Right now, I’m in a spot where I’m hiring additional attorneys to help more farmers. I’m turning business away and I can’t do it all,” Peiffer said.
If you or someone you know is having trouble with debt, cash flows, banks playing hardball, unruly landlords, or other agricultural or business problems, please feel free to contact us to see if we can help. If you are struggling with depression or other crises, visit our Crisis Resources post.