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, but it offers additional benefits to farmers and fishermen in certain circumstances, beyond those available to ordinary wage earners. Chapter 12 is applicable only to family farmers and fishermen.
For much of the history of bankruptcy law in the United States, there was no provision applicable specifically to farmers. The 1898 Bankruptcy Act contained no special provisions, with 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. 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.
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, but they were extended a number of times until they ultimately expired on March 31, 1949.
By and large, after the expiration of section 75, farmers were subject to the same rules of bankruptcy as other debtors. The application of the same rules was the case after the passage of the Bankruptcy Code of 1976 until 1986.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2009)
Chapter 12 provides additional benefits not available under chapter 13 and chapter 11. These benefits include higher debt ceilings than those under chapter 13, and more advantageous exemptions.