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Wisconsin leads the nation in family farm bankruptcies

Posted at 5:47 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 18:48:18-04

UNION GROVE, Wis — Wisconsin leads the nation in family farm bankruptcies.

The American Farm Bureau Federation says that July 2018 through June 2019, Wisconsin farmers filed 45 Chapter 12 bankruptcies. It's not just Wisconsin facing those issues either. During the same time, the number of Chapter 12 filings rose thirteen percent across the country.

Dave Daniels part-owner of Mighty Grand Dairy Farm in Union Grove predicted the struggles a small farm would have years ago. In 1997, Dave and two other farmers consolidated their farms in an effort to share operating cost.

Daniels said he is not surprised Wisconsin ranks top in the nation in farmers filing for Chapter 12 because the state is made up primarily of small family farms. He said it's a way for those farmers to keep their business.

"It allows that dairy farm family to restructure their debt with the banker, so they can make their payments and keep the farm," Daniels said.

In 2018, Wisconsin lost more than 630 dairy farms. Daniels said low milk prices and high operating cost have hit farmers hard.

"We did lose three farms in Kenosha county. We are down to 18 right now," Daniels said.

Daniels is unsure what the future in farming holds but he is hoping for the best.