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Putting farm bankruptcy statistics into perspective

Chapter 12 bankruptcies are on the increase. But an ag economist says that statistic needs to be put into perspective.

“Although the percentages sound alarming—you hear numbers like a 25 percent increase—they’re still very small,” says Jackson Takach, chief economist for Farmer Mac, a secondary market for agricultural loans.

“Right now we’re experiencing about 2.7 bankruptcies per ten-thousand farmers. And to put that into perspective, the last ten years we’ve averaged two. So we’ve seen an increase of less than one farm per ten-thousand entering bankruptcy,” Takach says.

Total Chapter 12 bankruptcies are up about 125 over last year. And while it’s very difficult for the farmers and ag lenders involved, Takach says, it’s still a relatively small number overall.

“Which I think speaks very positively to the way farmers are able to make these things work—to work their finances through and keep running even when you see incomes down 50 percent.”

Takach is one of the speakers at this week’s Ag Bankers Conference in Dallas.

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