In the Long Run

Farm household income has grown in absolute terms, as well as relative to nonfarm households. The trend in farm household income growth has generally tracked the less volatile path of nonfarm household income growth. Since 1996, farm household incomes have exceeded nonfarm household incomes by 5 percent or more.

Farm households have a diversified earnings portfolio, consisting of farm business income, off-farm wage and self-employment income, and passive earnings from farm and nonfarm investments. While all sources of income contribute to household well-being, the driver behind the growth of farm household incomes is off-farm income. In fact, over half of farm household income was earned as wages and salaries from off-farm employment.