January 26, 2020

U.S. Farm Income; Farm Bill Issues; Sugar Imports; Biofuels, Estate Taxes; and Climate Issues

U.S. Farm Income: ERS Report

Yesterday, the USDA’s Economic Research Service released its “Agricultural Income and Finance Outlook” report, which stated that, “All three measures of U.S. farm income are projected to decline in 2009—net farm income is projected to decline by 34.5 percent, net cash income by 28.4 percent, and net value added by 20 percent. Considerable uncertainty surrounds the forecasts of farm assets, debt, and equity in 2009, given the volatility of commodity, energy/input, and financial markets.”

The report noted that, “Average farm household income of principal farm operators—from farm and off-farm sources—is forecast to be $76,065 in 2009, down 3.5 percent from 2008. [See related graph from the report comparing farm operator household income, by source, with U.S. household income.] The recent instability in national housing and credit markets, as well as rising unemployment, has increased the economic vulnerability of some farm families to income and asset loss. The primary sources of this potential loss are financial and housing equity investments, plus income loss due to the greater risk of joblessness among farm households with off-farm labor earnings. As of 2008, average farm household income was 15 percent higher than that of all U.S. households.”