Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

Farmer Bankruptcies Swell to Decade High in the Midwest

What, if anything, should lawmakers do to shore up farmers' solvency?

by Axios | Updated on 2.7.19

U.S. farmers in the Midwest are filing for bankruptcy at levels the U.S. hasn’t seen for approximately a decade, the Wall Street Journal reports.

What's happening: Low commodity prices have been gouging U.S. farmers’ bottom lines for years now, exacerbated by increasing agricultural competition from Russia and Brazil. President Trump’s trade disputes, meanwhile, are adding salt to the wounds, as tariffs drive down prices and decrease profit for farmers.

By the numbers:

  • In the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, twice as many farmers declared bankruptcy in 2018 as during the 2008 recession.
  • In the 8th Circuit, which spans from North Dakota to Arkansas, bankruptcies shot up 96%.
  • In the 10th Circuit, which includes Kansas, Colorado and parts of Oklahoma, bankruptcies were up 59%. Together, these three jurisdictions accounted for nearly 50% of all farm product sales in 2017, per the Journal.
  • Last year, farm debt rose to over $409 billion, with the average size of loans in the 4th quarter reaching $74,190, the highest 4th quarter level in history.

Between the lines: Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings are still below the highs of 2010 when looking at nationwide numbers. But the Midwest is hurting, and even though the Trump administration has been rolling out federal government relief for farmers to make up for tariff damage, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle fear it is only a short-term, partial solution.

Axios

Written by Axios

Follow this Action Center to stay updated on new posts

Leave a comment
(41)
  • Robert
    02/07/2019
    ···

    Trump’s tariffs caused China to stop buying soybeans from Hoosier farmers. Trump then tried to buy them off as I recall with a 12 billion dollar subsidy. Farmers just wanted to sell their soybeans on the world market. But Trump thinks everyone sees the world through his corrupt eyes. Trump caused the problem and can’t fix it. Trump’s war on farmers cost us more than his useless wall. He will bankrupt the country if he isn’t removed from office.

    Like (29)
    Follow
    Share
  • Ken
    02/07/2019
    ···

    From a president that hires undocumented workers to work for him and has his MAGA hats made in China. Does anyone actually expect Donald Trump to help anyone just because it's the right thing to do? Want to fix our problems? Go to the source.

    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
  • Glowurm
    02/07/2019
    ···

    Subsidize me, why don’t you? I worked my butt off for 55 years. I supported my family. Paid my bills on time. Paid every dime I owed in taxes. Did not cheat anyone. Never committed a crime. Never inherited even a penny from anyone. Instead, helped support my parents until they died. Have been a model citizen. Do I get anything special? No! When will it be my turn, eh? We keep rewarding the wrong people! Stop it!

    Like (21)
    Follow
    Share
  • Glowurm
    02/07/2019
    ···

    We have been subsidizing farmers for too many years. Hell, we even pay some of them NOT to farm! Some of those we paid not to grow were actually members of Congress! Now, with this tariff crap, we have subsidized them even more. Plus, they need to quit poisoning us with killer pesticides! They voted for the son of a bitch, they can suffer because of him. Nobody bailed me out over the last 55 years that I worked or had a business. Actually, I feel I was punished after the 2008 crash. Felt like those who took mortgages they could not afford were helped, while those of us who made the right choices, paid their bills on time, etc., were left out in the cold. Enough already. That’s life. Some businesses are prosperous. Some fail. I’m tired of my taxpayer dollars subsidizing businesses!

    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
  • Dicr
    02/07/2019
    ···

    IQ45 won’t take credit for this even though his tariffs are failing. If only he had the sense to listen to those who actually know things he doesn’t.

    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
  • Kourtney
    02/07/2019
    ···

    These farmers in the Midwest voted for him overwhelmingly. It’s ironic that the old saying goes “you reap what you sow”!

    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
  • What.About.Ethics
    02/07/2019
    ···

    Trump's tariffs are the problem. We all know that farmers, businesses, and the American people started suffering almost immediately after his tariffs were put in place. I have noticed the financial impact personally, along with other regular Americans I know, and the farmers have already gotten help from Trump and still can't make it. Businesses have also complained and raised prices. Obviously, Trump is benefitting financially and others in his crime family, but the tariff war is not helping most Americans. Yet Republicans continue to bow to their master.

    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
  • Hank
    02/07/2019
    ···

    Let’s hear it for those “great” Trump economic policies.

    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
  • David
    02/07/2019
    ···

    Congress needs to roll back Trump’s tariffs, and the power they have ceded to him to impose tariffs without Congressional approval. Bankrupting his own companies wasn’t good enough for him. Now he’s bankrupting others, especially farmers, and working hard to do so to the United States as a whole. And the Republicans are silent.

    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
  • Mark
    02/07/2019
    ···

    Trumps tariffs are to blame, they are killing our farmers. Oddly enough these are the same people who put him in office.

    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
  • Bill
    02/07/2019
    ···

    Suck it up farmers. You voted for this clown.

    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
  • Glowurm
    02/08/2019
    ···

    Nothing! Didn’t orange man already give them billions just recently? No more!

    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
  • M
    02/07/2019
    ···

    We should give farmers incentives to grow organics. People who eat organic food and buy organic cotton are usually less likely to buy from China. We should subsidize sustainable and soil-building crops, rather than corn.

    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
  • Ray
    02/07/2019
    ···

    This administration pretends to work for working people but only cares about the 1% and big corporations. Our tariff guy started the tariff war but when other countries, China and others, retaliated, our guy took billions from the tax payers to supplement the farmers for not being able to sell their products. So all around we have all been had by this moron. Congress do your job and protect our democracy, institutions, laws and hold this moron to higher standards that we all expect.

    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
  • Surender
    02/07/2019
    ···

    You ain’t seen nothin yet! Not funny and the deeper pain is coming. You can thank moron, his mob, fox advisors, gop enablers & sycophants, maga morons, evangelicals, nationalists .....like all he touched went bankrupt, so shall this country

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • Jim2423
    02/07/2019
    ···

    It appears these farmers are growing one crop instead of diversifying. They are banking on single money making crops. Why is it just one central area. My father in law, a farmer, grows three or four crops. Hopefully one hits big. He did not borrow money to farm. Farming is like any business, if you fail to plan you lose. The Midwest has been a big government farm since the Dust Bowl. Greed is a big factor.

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • Randy
    02/07/2019
    ···

    Congress should take control of this problem and stop this stupid trade war. Congress should be making the decisions, not the Oval Office!!! We The People, not me the President!!!

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • PLD
    02/07/2019
    ···

    Much of the economic problems faced by farmers is directly the responsibility of Trump and his tariff policy. Congress has already provided some financial assistance.

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
  • JTJ
    02/07/2019
    ···

    If you are concerned for farmers, get rid of the estate tax.

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • Sharon
    02/08/2019
    ···

    I really hate to hear of small farms failing. The spaces they leave get filled by corporate producers that aim only to increase profit without pride in the quality of their product. Grocery store tomatoes have no flavor and it’s hard to find a good onion in the produce section. I think it’s because corporations are the major suppliers to our now mega corporation grocery stores. Most chain grocery stores are owned by a few huge companies. I thought the American philosophy was that monopolies were bad and competition was the bedrock of our economic model. We are now subject to monopolies in banking, airlines, groceries, department stores, insurance of all kinds, hospitals, drugs, internet providers, cable TV providers, and probably other areas I haven’t mentioned. Who’s that bad for? You and me. But it’s great for the upper 10% that sit on boards, own, or are in upper management of these mega corporations like the Koch brothers, the Uline family, the Mercer’s and others.

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share