This blog is maintained by John Schwarz, who is a third generation farmer and an agricultural law attorney. Most attorneys don't know a corn row from a fence row. However, John is different. He has been a farmer his entire life and is passionate about helping fellow farmers. When you need help with an ag/farm matter, it makes sense to have a farming attorney help you.
John is the only attorney in Indiana and Michigan that has been trained though the International Farm Transition Network (IFTN). The IFTN is a network of service providers from different professional backgrounds, such as accountants, lawyers, farm managers, ag lenders, etc, working to assist farm businesses with their successful transition to an identified successor.
The following is from the Arkansas University School of Law
By Susan Schneider · May 15, 2015 · 2015 Ark. L. Notes 1686 In categories: Administrative Law, Agricultural Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Bankruptcy, Business Law, Debtor/Creditor, Financial Institutions LawThis overview of Chapter 12 Bankruptcy is written to provide an introduction to the basic Chapter 12 process, highlighting some of the issues that distinguish it from other types of bankruptcy and explaining how it may be useful to family farmers and family fisherman who are experiencing financial distress. There are many complex issues that extend far beyond the scope of this short overview. For more information, attorneys should consult the Bankruptcy Code and Rules as well as the relevant case law from your jurisdiction. I. Historical PerspectivesChapter 12 was added to the Bankruptcy Code in 1986 during a deep financial crisis in the farm economy. It was designed to provide a special type of restructuring opport…
It goes without saying that the past few years have been very difficult from a financial standpoint. Simply stated, for many of us, the cost of production is above the cost we are receiving for our crops. In fact, it has been said that net farm income is down 50% since 2012.
Farmers facing financial difficulty have not done anything wrong or bad. Rather, they are merely a victim of the current times. Many farmers who have had no debt at all for years if not decades are finding themselves taking on large amounts of debt.
I have first hand experience with farm restructure. My family had to perform some restructure on our own farm, and some hard decisions had to be made. So, I have sympathy for fellow farmers that experience financial difficulties in these difficult times. I will be there for you in helping you through the financial difficulties that you may be facing. Together, we can work on getting you through the current financial issues.
I know full well how tough the d…
What to look for in A Farm Bankruptcy Attorney.
First and foremost, understanding the business of agriculture is very important. If the attorney has a solid understanding of the business of agriculture, it will be much easier for the farmer to educate the attorney on his farming operation rather than needing to teach the attorney the basics of farming. Being raised on a farm and having studied agriculture are indispensable attributes for an attorney representing the financially troubled family farmer. We have extensive farm experience through our families' farms. You can rest assured you will not be needing to explain your farming operation to us.
Experience in the tax implications of a farm restructuring both inside and outside of bankruptcy is essential. Failure to fully consider the tax consequences when negotiating with creditors can result in the farmer incurring unexpected income taxes that can cripple their farming operation. Questions abound regarding handling incom…
Schwarz Law Office is pleased to announce that it has partnered with Farm Aid to assist farmers.
"It is a real honor to be able to work with Farm Aid and provide legal assistance to farmers". said John Schwarz. Times are very tough, and I am hopeful our office will be able to help many farmers.
Farm Aid features the best that music has to offer, while remaining true to its ultimate mission.
GREAT MUSIC, SUPPORTING FARMERS, AND STRENGTHENING AMERICA SINCE 1985
Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on the land. Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001. Farm Aid has raised more than $53 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. Farm Aid is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep family farmers on the …
Caseload statistics from the United States Courts indicate that for the three-month period ending March 31, 2018, there were 116 Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings in the U.S. These Chapter 12 bankruptcies are designed for "family farmers" or "family fishermen" with "regular annual income". While down slightly from the first quarter of 2017, during which 118 Chapter 12 bankruptcies were filed, the March data highlights the tough financial conditions across much of rural America. From the Northeast, into the western Corn Belt and Upper Midwest, down into the Southwest and into the West, farm bankruptcies are higher than year-ago levels. Of the 116 filings in the first quarter of 2018, nearly 70 percent of the bankruptcies were in farm country, i.e. dairy, corn, cotton, soybean and wheat producing areas. In these areas, year-over-year increases in Chapter 12 filings ranged from up 63 percent to up 108 percent, Figure 1. The higher bankruptcy levels in these a…
Anyone involved in agriculture knows that we are currently experiencing tough times. Several years of low commodity prices have eroded much from the “good years” that we all experienced a few years back. However, most of us realize that farming is cyclical and are hopeful for better times ahead.
Succession planning and family fairness issues are easier in good times. For example, if a husband and wife have three children, only one of which farms, the couple knows that in good economic times the farming child has a greater ability to buy out non-farm children. As such, a husband and wife may have a plan where all three children inherit equally, knowing that the farming child will utilize the good economic times to purchase the interests of the non-farming children. PREPARING FOR HARD TIMES