From the ancient Mississippian people who grew crops near present-day Winona, to European immigrants farming in Jordan, and to present-day family farms, Minnesota has a rich farming history.
This explains why Minnesota has a specific law to protect farm machines. Minn. Stat. § 550.37, subd. 5 states “[f]arm machines and implements used in farming operations by a debtor engaged principally in farming, livestock, farm produce, and standing crops, not exceeding $13,000 in value.” This means that, if you decide to file for bankruptcy, and if you have farm equipment that is used primarily for farming and that is less than $13,000, then you should be able to protect it.
Of course, if you file for bankruptcy, and if you have farm equipment, the equipment you seek to protect has to be yours and you have to use it for farming. See the case of In re Miller, 370 B.R. 914, 917-918 (Bankr. D. Minn. 20070, the debtor-wife was deemed to be a farmer who engaged principally in farming; therefore, debtor-wife was allowed to exempt farm machines. Compared that case to the case of In re Hintzman, No. 05-61378, 2007 WL 80964 (Bankr. D. Minn. 2007), where the debtors “owned no real estate, rented no crop or pasture land, had no livestock, no crops, and no farming inventory;”. The debtors also had “not been able to take any significant steps to become engaged principally in farming since the filing of the case;” and they were “unable to even predict when, if ever, they might be in a position to become ‘engaged principally in farming.”
There’s also the bankruptcy code which defines a farmer as a “person that received more than 80 percent of such person's gross income during the taxable year of such person immediately preceding the taxable year of such person during which the case under this title concerning such person was commenced from a farming operation owned or operated by such person.” 11 U.S.C. § 101(20).
So, if you’re you have farm machines and are thinking of filing for bankruptcy, and or if you have questions or are ready to get your life back, reach out to Minnesota’s nicest bankruptcy law firm by going to www.kainscott.com. You won’t regret it!