A changing climate, increasing costs of production, decreasing income, the trade war, high levels of debt and suicide — all factors hurting farmers lately.
Chapter 12, or farm, bankruptcies have been on the rise. In 2019 and 2020, more than 500 were filed, respectively. (The number of farm bankruptcies today does not compare to the 1980s crisis: thousands of farmers a year filed for bankruptcies then).
(Data for 2021 will be available early next year.)
Farm bankruptcies are intended to reorganize debts and save family farms. But, according to research by Robert Dinterman and Ani Katchova, it might be harder to reorganize debts under Chapter 12 than other bankruptcy types. And many farmers decide to leave the life behind before they get to the point of filing for bankruptcy.
However, farm bankruptcies are still an important — albeit just one — indication of the economic health of rural communities, and their distribution is uneven across rural America.
The data below was compiled from reports the Administrative Office of the US Courts publishes yearly. It includes the number of Chapter 12 filings in each county since 2013, when the office began publishing reports with county-level numbers.
You can search by state abbreviation or county name.