**A wave of Chapter 12 bankruptcies is sweeping across the U.S. farm belt as trade disputes take a toll on businesses already hurt by low commodity prices.

According to agweb.com, federal data shows bankruptcies in major Midwest farm states last year rose to the highest level in at least 10 years, nearly double what they were in 2008.

Last year, farm debt rose to $409 billion, with the average loan in the 4th quarter at just over $74-thousand, the highest 4th quarter in history.

That said, bankruptcy filings nationwide are still below the highs of 2010.

**2018 was a record year for U.S. pork exports to South America, driven in large part by strong increases in pork muscle cuts to Colombia and Peru, which increased about 40% year-over-year.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation reports even with December data still to be reported, U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports to South America already exceeded the previous highs set in 2017, with volume increasing 24% and value up 17% to $292.3 million.

**Collin Peterson is the first repeat chairman of the House Ag Committee since the Eisenhower era.

Agriculture.com reports, one of his priorities will be watching Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue very closely, after two years of reworking the USDA structure.

The Minnesota Democrat says there’s a new farm bill to implement, a growing economic storm in farm country, and the ongoing harm of a trade war to alleviate.

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