Big Adjustments: The Latest USDA Net Farm Income Estimates

barn

by David A. Widmar

The USDA recently released the latest estimates of sector-level net farm income. These data provide an overall measure of the economic and financial conditions of the agricultural sector. The latest forecast revealed a much higher forecast of net farm income than previously estimated. Those who regularly monitor these data – as Brent and I do – were surprised by the large, upward adjustment to sector income. This week we take a look at the latest data, the adjustments, and the implications moving forward. 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

Government Payments to the Rescue?

Gov't Payments

By Brent Gloy and David Widmar

As we discussed last week, U.S. farm income has declined dramatically over the last two years. The magnitude of the drop has been substantial. In real (2009) dollars, the fall from 2013 to 2014 and 2014 to 2015 are the largest absolute declines since 1979 to 1980.   In percentage terms, the 2014 to 2015 decline is the largest since 1982-1983.

We thought it would be worthwhile to examine the decline in further detail. As we mentioned last week, persistently high and increasing expenses have played a key role in the decline. We will look at how expenses have changed throughout previous downturns in a later post. For this week’s post we wanted to look at something that hasn’t gone up in this downturn, direct government program payments. Continue reading