The amount of debt at midwest farms is soaring and farmers are declaring bankruptcy because of trade uneasiness and low prices.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Chapter 12 bankruptcy protection filings are on the rise — increasing to levels that have not been seen in at least 10 years.
Contributing factors include low commodity prices and the ongoing trade dispute with China that has resulted in each country placing tariffs on each other's goods.
Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, for example, saw a 100 percent increase in bankruptcy claims filed in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018 compared to 2008, the Journal reported. Other states in the farm belt saw similar increases.
The farm debt level, according to data obtained by the Journal, reached $409 billion last year.
Nebraska farmer Kirk Duensing filed for bankruptcy because he was unable to pay many of his bills due to low prices for corn and soybeans. He told the Journal his debt is more than $1 million.
"I've been through several dips in 40 years," he said. "This one here is gonna kick my butt."
The Trump administration has been in talks with China for several months as the two countries try to sort out their trade issues. Recent reports suggest that a deal could be struck soon.
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