Axne Joins Grassley in Effort to Help Struggling Farmers

May 16, 2019
Press Release
Bipartisan legislation raises the Chapter 12 operating debt cap from $3 million to $10 million

WASHINGTON – Amid growing trade tensions between the U.S. and China, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) today signed onto the bipartisan Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019, legislation that would provide a lifeline to Iowa farmers navigating a downturn in the farm economy. The legislation will help Iowa farmers struggling with debt stay in operation by making more farms eligible to file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced a version of the bill in the Senate.

“I’ve heard from Iowa farmers across the district who are paying the price for this escalating trade war. This bipartisan legislation provides a lifeline to struggling farm families by helping them avoid foreclosure,” said Rep. Axne. “I’d like to thank Senator Grassley for championing this effort in the Senate and urge both chambers to pass this bill immediately.”  

U.S. farm debt now totals more than $400 billion—the highest level seen since the 1980s farm crisis — in part due to low commodity prices, weak crop yields due to extreme weather, and an escalating trade war. The bipartisan Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 would make more farms eligible to file for bankruptcy by increasing the debt cap that can be covered under Chapter 12 from $3,237,000 to $10,000,000. This change reflects increases in land values and the average size of U.S. farming operations over time.