Close up of bankruptcy petition

Chapter 12 bankruptcy is not as well known as other types are. However, family farmers sometimes use it to restructure their businesses. Chesterfield Berry Farm in Virginia has announced that it is taking this step.

A Popular Tourist Attraction and Source of Fresh Produce

Like many farms, Chesterfield Berry Farm's operations vary with the seasons. The berries come in around April and May. The farm, located not far from Richmond, is known for letting people come in and pick their own strawberries. The farm welcomes visitors to its haunted corn maze, pumpkin patch and other Halloween attractions in the fall. It's a popular destination for families as well as school and church groups.

Virginia's agriculture and forestry secretary called the farm "a legend in the Richmond region for bringing together agriculture and tourism, two of Virginia's leading industries." He expressed hope that the owners' plans for handling their financial challenges will ultimately "bring new success and opportunities for them."

Why Did the Farm's Owners Choose Chapter 12 Bankruptcy?

Their attorney explained that the farm has had "a couple of subpar years" and is facing "a fair amount of debt." The owners need some time to deal with that, so they chose Chapter 12.

At the end of last October, the farm closed the market that it ran in a nearby shopping center. That market sold produce as well as baked goods and dairy and beef products. The plan is to re-open the market at the farm, but only from April through December. There's another market on the farm's property where they sell their fruits and produce as well as souvenirs.

A Bankruptcy Option for the Unique Challenges Faced by Family Farmers

Family farmers probably face more challenges than ever before, with the rise of large factory farms and the penchant that many Americans have for choosing easy-to-fix, inexpensive, processed foods. They're also at the mercy of natural and man-made forces beyond their control. This relatively new form of bankruptcy was designed to meet their unique needs. Attorneys with experience handling Chapter 12 bankruptcies can provide guidance to help farmers have the best possible chance of coming out of it with a business that's poised for greater success.

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