DEFINITION of 'Chapter 12'
A U.S. bankruptcy proceeding specifically for family farms or fisheries that gives the farm or fishery owner the ability to reorganize his or her finances and debts while still keeping the farm or fishery. The farm or fishery owner will work with a bankruptcy trustee and creditors to formulate a payment program that will meet his or her owner obligations. This proceeding is available for individually run family farms and fisheries as well as those owned by a corporation or partnership.
BREAKING DOWN 'Chapter 12'
Chapter 12 was enacted in 1986 specifically for farms and fisheries to make the bankruptcy process easier for these types of businesses. Prior to Chapter 12, farmers would have to either file for protection under Chapter 11, which can be very expensive and is mainly for large corporations, or Chapter 13, which is mainly for those with relatively small outstanding debts (generally not the case for farms and fisheries).
In order to qualify for this protection, both individuals and corporations must get the majority of income for the farm/fishery operations. There is also a limit on the size of the outstanding debt.