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Chapter 12: Wikis


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Chapter 12 of Title 11 of the United States Code, or simply Chapter 12, is a chapter of the Bankruptcy Code. It is similar to Chapter 13 in structure, however it offers additional benefits to farmers and fishermen, in certain circumstances, beyond those available to ordinary U.S. wage earners. Chapter 12 is available only to family farmers and fishermen.





For much of the Bankruptcy law's history in the United States, there was no provision specifically for farmers. The 1898 Bankruptcy Act contained no special provisions, with the one exception that farmers were immune from an involuntary bankruptcy petition. Section 75 was enacted by the Bankruptcy Act of 1933 and provided specific provisions for farmers.[1] However many of these provisions were limited in scope, and ultimately required the voluntary cooperation of mortgagors and creditors.

In addition, Section 75, as it was originally conceived, was a temporary measure. It was scheduled to expire on March 3, 1938.[1]

The Frazier-Lemke Act expanded the scope of Section 75, providing for stronger protections available to farmers operating under bankruptcy protection. These changes too were initially temporary, however they were extended a number of times until they ultimately expired on March 31, 1949.[1]

By and large, after the expiration of Section 75, farmers were subject to the same rules of bankruptcy as other debtors. This remained true after the passage of the Bankruptcy Code of 1976 until 1986.[1]


Chapter 12 was added to the Bankruptcy Code in 1986 by the Bankruptcy Judges, United States Trustees, and Family Farmer Bankruptcy Act of 1986.[2][3] Its effective date was November 26, 1986.[2]

The modifications to the bankruptcy code were intended as an emergency response to tightening agricultural credit during the early to mid 1980s, and several notable bank failures.[1]

The Act was to originally expire on October 1, 1993, however it was extended a number of times without expiring until it was made permanent by the 2005 BAPCPA.[1]


Chapter 12 provides additional benefits compared to chapter 13 or chapter 11. These benefits include higher debt ceiling amounts, compared to chapter 13, and more advantageous exemptions.


Criticism exists because Chapter 12's relatively advantageous provisions are available only to a limited number of filers.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Collier on Bankruptcy, 8-1200 P 2.
  2. ^ a b Pub. L. No. 99-554
  3. ^ Agricultural Finance and Credit, Jonathan M. Bishoff, Nova Publishers, 2008, ISBN 160456072X, 9781604560725, page 91-92.


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