Economist: Recent Farm Income Forecast Reason for Concern

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Earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture released its 2022 Farm Sector Income Forecast, which showed a mixed bag for the farm economy.

USDA’s Economic Research Service predicts producer cash receipts will increase 21 percent to more than $525 billion nationally. Crop values are expected to increase nine percent year-over-year, while cash receipts from animal production will be up 28 percent from 2021 numbers.

Despite elevated commodity prices, farmers are not expected to report record paychecks, with farm income off by roughly 30 percent.

University of Idaho ag economist Garth Taylor says the drop in income is thanks to a host of domestic and international issues, from drought to input costs to the war in Ukraine, and a variety of other challenges.

“But despite all of those headwinds, farmers were very high to a high on their cash receipts. They can overcome those things with higher prices, but it’s inflation that’s nailing farmers. It did it in the 1980s, and it’s threatening farms right now. And that bottom line is something we’ve really got to watch.”

When it comes to eating away at the bottom line, Taylor noted that fertilizer prices are up a projected 52 percent this year, fuel is up 42 percent and interest payments jumped 40 percent. Another factor pushing farm income lower, Taylor noted, the reduction, or in many cases, the removal of government payments farmers saw in 2020 and 2021,

“We’ll be back to where we’re depending on the revenues that farmers can generate from cash receipts. That component [government payments] is going to be largely gone from Idaho and it’s going to be largely gone from U.S. farmers.”

Story provided by NAFB News Service and Glenn Vaagen, PNW Ag Network, Pasco, Washington
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