From Debt to Deliverance: Wade

Posted on: May 16th, 2023 by

Note: This is the final installment of a three-part blog series about ABLS clients and their debt resolution stories.

In March and April, we shared the debt restructuring stories of retired and active Iowa farmers Jerry and Deb, and Paul and Linda, respectively. In this blog, meet a third Iowa farmer: Wade.

Wade had his hands full with two business ventures in northern Iowa. He was farming several hundred acres of corn and soybeans, and co-owned a small trucking business.

Then, in the space of four years, it all turned sour.

From bad to worse

As Wade tells it, “I was farming with a business partner at a trucking company. He got himself in a little trouble. I had to buy him out, which wasn’t a bad deal, but then four years after that I ended up going through a divorce. After getting through that, the president of the bank I was working with retired and the loan officer I was working with left – all in about three months. A whole new crew of people came in and the new president wouldn’t work with me.”

The banker wanted Wade to liquidate assets to meet his loan payments. Wade began by selling his cattle and some machinery. It wasn’t enough and the bank encouraged Wade to sell his land. Wade was on a path to leaving farming altogether. He didn’t want that to happen.

Piecing together a solution

We met Wade in 2017 and began piecing together a debt restructuring plan. As with the two farm couples we featured before, Chapter 12 bankruptcy was the best option. The bank fought the February 2018 bankruptcy filing that called for Wade to use cash collateral to plant crops that spring. Ultimately, the bankruptcy plan was confirmed that December.

Wade got to keep his remaining machinery and land. He’s running a more efficient operation today, and is coming off the best two years he’s had as a farmer. What’s more, he still runs his trucking company. Wade says he wouldn’t still be farming without the legal help he received from Joe Peiffer and financial advice from Keith Starr.

“Joe and Keith made me a way better manager than I was before,” he says. “Now, I’m taking every purchase into consideration and paying cash. It’s nice to have cash in the bank, when before it was always buy it now and pay for it later. Working with Joe and Keith changed my whole perspective.”

Time is of the essence 

“I would recommend any farmer in a situation like mine to talk to them,” Wade says. “They can probably fix things so you don’t have to go the full nine yards (toward exiting farming) like I had to.

“My biggest regret is – and I can’t stress it enough – is that I didn’t talk to them sooner.”

If farm debt is becoming unmanageable for you, be proactive and reach out to us. Don’t wait – do it today.

At Ag & Business Legal Strategies, we want our clients to be honest with themselves and have a solid business plan. Our attorneys and financial strategist will help you create and execute that business plan, and, if necessary, assist you with the legal, tax, and practical aspects of debt restructuring or bankruptcy. 

Don’t wait for the problems to become insurmountable. Connect with someone you can trust today, not tomorrow.

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Categories: Chapter 12, Farm Business


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