Chapter 12 Bankruptcy is a specific form of Bankruptcy for family farmers and family fisherman, who derive a significant amount of their income from fishing, farming or agricultural activities. Individuals, married couples, corporations or partnerships may file Chapter 12 petitions.
Relatively few Chapter 12 cases are filed in Georgia, not because there are few farms in Georgia, but often because even experienced Bankruptcy lawyers are unfamiliar with the procedures and benefits. There are almost 50,000 farms in Georgia, with an average size of 212 acres. One out of every seven people in Georgia works in agriculture, forestry or related industries. Farmers markets are becoming more common as we are becoming more educated and more concerned with the benefits of organic and non-genetically modified food. In addition to farms, there are thousands of other small businesses, such as animal breeders, landscapers and nurseries, who may not be traditional farmers, but nevertheless qualify for Chapter 12.
Chapter 12 allows family farmers and fisherman to pay all or a portion of their debts over a three to five year period. It is often more appropriate than Chapter 13 for individuals, as Chapter 12 has higher debt limits to take into account the farming, agricultural or fishing operations. It is more streamlined and, therefore, less expensive and less complicated than Chapter 11 cases.
It is important for individuals or businesses engaged in farming, agricultural, fishery or related industries to visit with an experienced Bankruptcy lawyer to discuss whether Chapter 12 is appropriate. Scott Riddle can review your specific circumstances and determine whether Chapter 12, an alternative form of Bankruptcy, or another solution is best for you and your business.