USDA says farm income up, but outlook remains challenging

The USDA is forecasting more stable farm sector profits after three years of decline, but their report has some bad news for farmers.

The USDA’s Economic Research Service report says net farm income is expected to go up 2.7% to more than 63-billion dollars this year, but after adjusting for inflation, that income will be about the same as 2016.

Cash receipts are up for dairy, poultry, eggs, hogs, and cattle, but down for crops.  The same report says there was less spent on Agricultural Risk Coverage payments, but more on Price Loss Coverage payments.

Farm production expenses are also projected to be up one-and-a-half percent this year.

The ERS report also points out the importance of non-farm income for many producers.  The agency says median farm income fell 940-dollars in 2016 and will fall nearly 11-hundred dollars this year.  USDA says many households earn positive off-farm income and more than half of these households lost money on their farming operations.

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