Maine organic farming icons file for bankruptcy
The Aroostook County organic potato farmer who landed in the national spotlight for his advocacy against one of the world’s biggest agriculture conglomerates has filed with his wife for personal bankruptcy protection.
Megan and Jim Gerritsen filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in March, almost two years after selling their Wood Prairie Family Farm in Bridgewater to their son. They listed more than $460,000 in debt.
Almost half of that amount is due to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, against which Jim Gerritsen helped lead an unsuccessful court battle over the integrity of the department’s organic certification program. Credit card companies make up the bulk of the other debts listed.
Jim Gerritsen said crop losses due to wet conditions in 2011 and 2013 precipitated their financial troubles.
“This is agriculture,” Gerritsen said. “It’s marginal when things go right, and when you get two crop disasters, you know, it’s what happens.”