American Farms Haven't Raked In This Much Money In 40 Years

U.S. farm income is projected to rise 14 per cent to $128.2 billion in 2013, the highest level since 1973, according to the latest report from the USDA.

If yields returned to trend, crop production would reach record levels and cause a drop in inventories. “This would lead to higher net farm income since this measure goes beyond cash income to include the value of inventory change and other noncash items.”

Net cash income (the difference between cash expenses and commodities sold and other farm income) is expected to be $123.5 billion. That’s only the fourth time since 1973 that net cash income has been over $100 billion. 

“Today’s forecast for the strongest net farm income in four decades is another positive testament to the resilience and productivity of U.S. farmers and ranchers,” Tom Vilsack said in a press release. 

“American agriculture continues to endure an historic drought with tremendous resolve, and last year was an important reminder of the need for a strong safety net.”

Here are some details from the report:

  • “The value of livestock production is expected to increase 3.5 per cent in 2013, with receipts increasing nearly 3 per cent. The projected gains result mostly from expectations of price increases.”
  • “The value of crop production is expected to rise 11 per cent in 2013, despite a predicted decline in crop receipts. The difference indicates the significant role of crop inventories. Crop receipts are forecast to decline by $3.2 billion in 2013, which would be the first decline since 2009.”
  • “Increases in farm asset values are expected to continue to exceed increases in farm debt, leading to expectations of another new record high for farm equity.”

Here’s a look at the trajectory of farm income since 2013:

farm income chart

Photo: USDA

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