Daily Bread for 1.30.23: Wisconsin Farm Bankruptcies Decline

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see intervals of clouds and sunshine with a high of 7. Sunrise is 7:10 AM and sunset 5:05 PM for 9h 55m 24s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 68.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

 The Whitewater School Board meets in closed session shortly after 7 PM.

 On this day in 1948, following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in his home compound, India’s prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, broadcasts to the nation, saying “The light has gone out of our lives.” The date of the assassination becomes observed as “Martyrs’ Day” in India.

 Wisconsin no longer leads the nation in farm bankruptcies (‘Better financial conditions, more consolidation mean there are fewer farms filing for bankruptcy in the state’): 

After years of leading the nation in farm bankruptcies, the latest federal data shows Wisconsin has returned to more normal levels of new filings.

Federal court data shows Wisconsin only had 10 Chapter 12 bankruptcy cases filed in the 12 months before Sept. 30, 2022. Chapter 12 is a bankruptcy code that allows farmers who are carrying too much debt to reorganize their business and potentially have some of their debt forgiven.

The latest total is a 72 percent decline from the same period in 2021, when there were 36 new cases filed in the state. At that time, the western district of Wisconsin by itself was tied with Minnesota for highest number of cases in the nation.

In 2020, the same report showed 78 Chapter 12 filings, with western Wisconsin again leading the nation for the highest number of cases.

At the 2023 Wisconsin Agricultural Outlook Forum this week, Paul Mitchell, director of the Renk Agribusiness Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said part of the decline is likely from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s move to stop past-due debt collections and farm foreclosures during the COVID-19.


Mitchell said one of the biggest reasons farm bankruptcy filings are down is because the industry has been in a better financial position.

Many producers saw increased cash coming from the federal government through pandemic-related programs. Commodity prices across the industry, from corn to milk, and land values have also been going up.

“After two years of high income and increased land values, the average farmer is going into 2023 in a solid financial position, with their debts paid down, loans refinanced with lower interest rates, increased equity on their balance sheets from all those land value increases,” Mitchell said at the event. “Like I said, it’s a solid financial situation for the average farmer. Not every farmer, but the average farmer.”

Wisconsin farms took significant losses, but better for the surviving farms to be where they are now than where they were a few years ago. Nothing agreeable, however, in any of agriculture’s travails. 

 Boeing’s 747 prepares for final send-off:

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments