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COVID-19 is Likely Leading more U.S. Farmers to File for Bankruptcy

COVID-19 is Likely Leading more U.S. Farmers to File for Bankruptcy

By Andy Uhler

Mitchell Hora is a seventh-generation family farmer in Washington County, Iowa. He plants corn and soybeans and said finances were tough even before this crisis. It costs more to grow the crops than he can charge for them.

“You run the numbers and it’s like, holy smokes, like how does this even get close to working?” Hora said.

He said most farmers in the United States can’t think about the future or invest in their farms because they’re living harvest to harvest.

“I gotta have maximum revenue coming in so I can pay off my debt, pay the next interest payment. And that is not good,” he said.

Long before the coronavirus pandemic hit, American farmers were struggling. They lost important export markets because of the U.S.-China trade war and growing international competition. Then this health crisis emerged and disrupted an already volatile supply chain. That has agricultural economists predicting a rise in farm bankruptcies across the United States.

Part of the problem is that 80% of farm assets are tied up in land values, and those values have been declining for the past few years. And now, COVID-19 has disrupted farmers’ supply chains.

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