Farm Bankruptcies Increase Through Multiple Bailouts

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Although farmers have recieved at least three bailouts from the Trump regime, or four if you include the latest bailouts approved by Congress through the coronavirus pandemic CARES act earlier this year, an increasing number of farmers are declaring bankruptcy.

The pandemic and the Trump regime's disastrous non-response to it haven't helped, of course, but records show that bankruptcies increased between June 2019 and June 2020, a period of time that largely predates the pandemic and has included multiple bailouts

Bankruptcies have increased by 8 percent and things could be even worse next year even if the economy hypothetically recovers by some amount.

[Eight percent] more farmers filed for bankruptcy in the 12-month period ending June 30 than last year. Chapter 12 bankruptcies have been gradually increasing since 2016.

580 farmers declared bankruptcy in the last 12 months, while 535 did the same in the period ending in 2019. [...]

If more aid isn't extended to farmers after coronavirus relief expires at the end of the year, farm income is forecast to fall by 12% in 2021, per the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

The coronavirus pandemic has been bad for everyone, but farmers have been treated to more bailouts than any other industry including through the pandemic.

Bailouts are no replacement for legitimate business; for having an actual market for your goods. The pandemic severely weakened the agricultural industry because restaurants are closing by the hundreds and school systems are no longer feeding tens of thousands of kids every single day, but a significant portion of bankruptcies began even before we got to that point because of Trump's trade war.

The pandemic will eventually end, schools will hold in person classes again, and the restaurant industry will slowly creep back into existence, but it will be up the next presidential administration to end Trump's global trade war and restore access to markets for American goods.

And it's not just a matter of ending Trump's cold war with China and restoring access to their markets. Trump is waging a trade war on China, India, Canada, the entire European Union, Turkey, and you could even include Iran on the list.

If Trump is reelected, the farmers who ironically still support him will be devastated over the next four years but the rest of us will pay a price for it, too.

  • muselet

    Donald Trump’s endless trade wars with, well, pretty much every other country on the planet and the coronavirus pandemic are the one-two punch small farmers really didn’t need. The sooner those are over, the better.

    Farming is, as I keep saying, a tough gig and it takes a special kind of person to do it; and despite their insistence that they’re the ruggedly independent type, they need assistance and know it (SEE: National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry; SEE ALSO: Co-op Research and Extension Services). Small- to medium-sized farmers should receive more cash assistance from us non-farmers than they do (the US will just have to make do with fewer F-35s).

    A full accounting of those bailouts for agriculture would probably show the majority of the money going to agribusiness concerns. ADM needs the money less than does Farmer Bob.