The number of Wisconsin farms filing for bankruptcy has more than doubled since milk prices fell in 2014, according to a new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. The public policy think-tank used federal data to examine the relationship between milk prices and chapter 12 bankruptcy filings. “The bankruptcy filings rose, with a certain lag, but they rose as the milk price fell in recent years,” said Jason Stein, research director at the Wisconsin Policy Forum. “I think in some ways that’s not surprising given what we know about the crisis on dairy farms, as well as how important dairy is to agriculture in general in Wisconsin.” Court system data shows that Wisconsin had 22 chapter 12 cases in 2014. That number rose to 50 cases in 2017, and the Western District of Wisconsin had the most chapter 12 bankruptcies in the nation that year. Stein said 50 cases could seem small, especially when compared to the 68,500 farms in Wisconsin, but the rising number of farm bankruptcies suggests broader financial distress in the dairy industry that could be detrimental to the state’s economy. One factor that could be contributing to more farm bankruptcies is a decline in producers' income. The report found net farm income in Wisconsin fell 56 percent between 2011 and 2017. Combined with low milk prices, declining incomes could be forcing farms to take on more debt and even push some into bankruptcy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2019 Farm Income Forecast shows farm debt increasing by 4 percent this year, reaching $426.7 billion — the highest level of farm debt since 1982.