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BRITTNEY MELTON / STATESVILLE RECORD & LANDMARK Tillis speaks during a recent appearance at Richard's Coffee Shop in Mooresville.

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis plans to help family farms through the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019, which was passed by Senate Aug. 1..

The bipartisan bill will help to reorganize family farms that are experiencing hard financial times.

“Farmers in North Carolina and across the country are reeling from low commodity prices and natural disasters that will take years to recover from,” Tillis said in a news release. “As these farmers rebuild their reserves, they deserve protections during this delicate time when so much could go wrong that is outside of their control.”

The Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019raises the Chapter 12 operating debt cap to $10 million, allowing more family farmers to seek relief under the program, a release stated. The bill will change the definition of “family farmer” by replacing the original $3,237,000 each place it appears and inserting $10,000,000. This will help recognize the unique challenges that family farmers face.

Congress established Chapter 12 of the U.S. bankruptcy code, which removes certain costly reorganization requirements intended for large corporations, a release stated. Several years of low commodity prices, stringent farm lending regulations and market uncertainty have taken a toll on America’s agriculture producers, a release stated. Farm bankruptcy rates in many farming regions across the country are at their highest point in a decade.

In some places in 2018, farm bankruptcies doubled from the previous year. Debts held by farmers are nearing historic levels set in the 1980s, further financially extending farm operations, a press release stated. The legislation to help change farm bankruptcy rates previously passed the House and now heads to President  Donald Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

“I’m proud the Senate unanimously passed our bipartisan legislation which gives our farmers and their families relief, and I look forward to President Trump signing it into law,” Tillis said in the release.

The Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 is a co-sponsored bipartisan bill which is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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