As an elected public official, at both state and federal levels, I have met with many farmers, dairymen and other small businesses. Besides problems with weather and prices, running a farm or agribusiness operation in Upstate New York, presents many challenges. Labor, taxes, rising costs for feed and utilities are common complaints I’ve often heard.

The financial pressures are all too real for many family farmers and small businesses. I was pleased to see that on a bi-partisan basis, the federal government has recently enacted new policies which can assist many farm and small business operations experiencing financial distress.

If private discussions with your creditors have failed, a structured reorganization plan under these new provisions of the Bankruptcy Code will allow many family farmers the opportunity to continue farming. Under the new Chapter 12 provisions, qualifying farms with up to $10,000,000 in debt can have their debts restructured — giving them needed breathing room to keep and maintain their family farms.

Also enacted was the Small Business Reorganization Act which will allow small businesses with up to $2.7 million in debt a simplified process to receive bankruptcy protection, allowing negotiation with creditors while staying in operation. These provisions may afford timely relief to small agribusinesses.

These are difficult decisions to make, but these new laws afford farmers and small businesses an opportunity for a second chance. If you’re experiencing economic difficulties, it is always best to consult with advisors prior to making any important financial decisions.

As part of my services to farmers, I will also be collaborating with David R. Langston, Esq. Mr. Langston, a nationally prominent Chapter 12 attorney, will be working with me on cases that require his expertise and experience, helping to ensure the best possible outcomes for New York family farmers.

That’s why I welcome the opportunity to share information with you about the new laws, and encourage you to contact me for a free consultation.