A June 29 Vox article quoted a Democratic party notable saying:

“Trump’s failed trade war wreaked havoc on industries across the country. Farm bankruptcies are at highs not seen since the Great Depression, consumers paid higher prices, and manufacturing went into a recession,” Adrienne Watson, the DNC’s “War Room” director, told me. “America can’t afford four more years of Trump losing to China.”

Leaving aside that causality may be a little difficult to establish here, given Covid-19, is it true that in the US "farm bankruptcies are at highs not seen since the Great Depression"?

  • 1
    And farmers are buying so many new tractors that Deere ( and Cat) stocks are at records high prices. Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 14:40
  • Not sure this meets the notable claims standard, but a quick look at the farm stats curiously shows that the number of U.S. farms rose to an all-time peak of 6.8 million farms during the Great Depression, stabilizing at about about 2 million farms of increasing individual acreage starting in the 1970s: ers.usda.gov/data-products/… Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 16:37
  • there's nowhere near as many individual farms, so the count simply can't be higher, though the rate might be; unclear what the claim is.
    – dandavis
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 21:20

1 Answer 1


False if referring to Chapter 12 Bankruptcies

It's unclear what the original claim is about "Farm bankruptcies" is meant to mean. My immediate reaction is that this person is talking about Chapter 12 Bankruptcy, commonly referred to as "farmer bankruptcy," but actually includes fishermen.

If this person is indeed talking about Chapter 12, while Chapter 12 bankruptcies are on the rise under Trump [1] [2], the number of Chapter 12s has not even hit the peak last seen in 2010, let alone being the worst in the last 90 to 100 years as the claim says.

If the claim is about "farms" and not specifically Chapter 12, I'm not sure a data source is going to be easy to track down. There are far more Chapter 7 and 13 Bankruptcies, and sifting through that data to find what might qualify as a "farm" is probably not what the claim had in mind.

  • If a farm is incorporated, it is ineligible for Chapter 13 and instead must go through Chapter 11.
    – Kevin
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 8:01

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