California Farm Bankruptcies Up 65%

California farm bankruptcies are up 65% this year, echoing a national trend exacerbated by the U.S. trade war with China.

There were 28 Chapter 12 filings by California farms in the 12-month period ending September 2019. California saw the third largest increase since the previous year. Oklahoma was first with an increase of 14, followed by Georgia which saw an increase of 12.

“Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies continue to increase as farmers and ranchers struggle with a prolonged downturn in the farm economy that’s been made worse by unfair retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agriculture as well as two consecutive years of adverse planting, growing and harvesting conditions,” the American Farm Bureau Federation reports. “Over the prior 12 months, Chapter 12 bankruptcies totaled 580 filings and were up 24% from the previous 12 months."

"While filings remain well below the historical highs experienced in the 1980s, the trend is a concern. The support provided to farmers in 2018 and 2019 is expected to alleviate some of the financial stress, however, not all farmers will benefit from trade assistance, farm bill programs, crop insurance or disaster aid. As a result, it could take some time for the financial relief to manifest in the farm bankruptcy trends. Chapter 12 bankruptcies in the third quarter of 2019 were down only slightly, 2%, from the previous quarter.”

There are approximately 77,500 farms in the state of California. Over one-third of vegetables and two-thirds of fruit and nuts consumed in the U.S. are grown in the Golden State. Our top agricultural counties include Fresno, Tulare, Monterey, Kern, Merced, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Ventura, San Diego and Imperial.


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