Off-Farm Income to Save the Day?

by David Widmar

We frequently utilize the USDA’s farm income data to monitor and report about farm economy, especially given the large, rapid decline in farm incomes since 2013 (you can read our latest post on net farm income here). Often included in the USDA’s reports are comments and data about off-farm income. In November, for example, former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack commented in a press release that higher off-farm income are “expected to stabilize losses due to commodity prices.”

For this week’s post, we decided to consider off-farm income and what impact it has on farm households.

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Where the Farm Income Boom Happened (and Didn’t)

ag trends. agricultural economic insights

by David A. Widmar

We have frequently written about the expansion and subsequent contraction of the U.S. farm income. While most of our previous work has focused on sector-level trends across the U.S. farm economy, we have anecdotally noted these trends likely vary at the local, state, and regional levels. Thinking about these variations, we previously looked at how changes in farmland values have varied across the country. To provide more insight on the variations in the farm economy, this week’s post considers state-level changes in net farm income during the boom and contraction. Continue reading

Farm Income Set to Fall Yet Again

Harvest Small

by Brent Gloy

One of our top questions heading into 2016 was whether 2016 would be the year when farm income stopped falling.   At the start of the year we weren’t particularly optimistic for a rebound, in large part because livestock prices had fallen considerably from early 2015 levels.  In February, the Economic Research Service released their forecast of farm income which projected yet another decline.  In this post we will look at the forecast, some of its components, and examine the implications another year of declining farm incomes. Continue reading