By Rebecca Garcia and Jan Sensenich, Chapters 12 and 13 Standing Trustees
The Association of Chapter 12 Trustees (ACT2) had a wonderful day and a half conference in advance of the NACTT Seminar on July 15 and 16 in Indianapolis. In addition to Trustee participants, we had judges, debtors, and creditors counsel and representatives attend and participate.
We kicked off the conference with a presentation on the current state the agricultural economy by Professor Michael Langemeier, an agricultural economics professor from Purdue University. We had an excellent Chapter 12 case law update. Those materials are an invaluable resource that we will have added to the Chapter 12 Trustee website soon. www.act12.org
Other presentations included an introduction to Chapter 12, a look at eligibility and pre-bankruptcy planning, using Chapter 12 to facilitate farm transitions, UCC Article 9 issues and special farm problems, plan feasibility and special tax considerations of Chapter 12.
The presentations and materials are a great start for someone just getting into chapter 12, and for those more experienced practitioners the conference provided a chance to sharpen some skills and get up to date on the latest in Chapter 12.
Shortly after the conference, the Senate passed the bipartisan, bicameral bill called the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019. It’s a short but powerful piece of legislation that raises the debt ceiling in Chapter 12 from about $4 million to $10 million. The bill now goes to the White House for the President’s signature. This change in the law will open up Chapter 12 to family farmers who are forced into a Chapter 11 due only to their amount of debt.
At the business meeting after the conference, ACT2 elected new officers and board members. They are President Jan Sensenich, Vice-President Rebecca Garcia, Secretary Mark Little, and Treasurer Brad Kloiber. Board members are Mark Harring (immediate Past President), Nancy Whaley, Joe Black, Carol Dunbar, and Walter Kelley.
Given the difficulty of current ag economy and the law changes that make Chapter 12 an attractive, some argue, required, option for any family farmer considering re-organization, ACT2 is positioned as a resource for materials that you can present to your state, local or regional bar. In addition, ACT2 would be happy to assist in coordinating speakers for any event focused on Chapter 12. If you have an event that you need materials or speakers for, please reach out to either President Jan Sensenich firstname.lastname@example.org or Vice President Rebecca Garcia email@example.com.
Rebecca Rogers Garcia is the Standing Chapter 13 Trustee for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Prior to her appointment as Trustee, she was a staff attorney for Mary B. Grossman, the Chapter 13 Trustee in Milwaukee from 2002 until November 2014. Prior to her employment with the Chapter 13 Trustee; she represented debtors in consumer cases. Ms. Garcia is on the board of the Bankruptcy, Insolvency and Creditors Rights Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin and a member of the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees. She is active in teaching CLE through the State Bar of Wisconsin on consumer bankruptcy issues. She received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin Platteville in 1992 and her J.D. from Marquette University in 1996.
Jan M. Sensenich graduated from Windham College in Putney, Vermont in 1978 and Vermont Law School in 1983. He served as Core Faculty Member and Director of the Woodbury College Legal Clinic from 1983 to 1987and from 1990 to 1992. Jan was an Associate with Jerome I. Meyers, P.C. from 1987 to 1990 when he opened his own practice concentrating on bankruptcy matters in both Vermont and New Hampshire. Jan has been serving as Vermont’s Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 Standing Trustee since 1991 and has been a member of the adjunct faculty of Vermont Law School between since 1994 where he teaches Bankruptcy. Jan has been a member of the Vermont Bar Association Bankruptcy Section and the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees since 1992 and currently serves on the NACTT Due Process Committee.