Farming and Farm Income

U.S. agriculture and rural life underwent a tremendous transformation in the 20th century. Early 20th century agriculture was labor intensive, and it took place on many small, diversified farms in rural areas where more than half the U.S. population lived. Agricultural production in the 21st century, on the other hand, is concentrated on a smaller number of large, specialized farms in rural areas where less than a fourth of the U.S. population lives. The following provides an overview of these trends, as well as trends in farm sector and farm household incomes.

U.S. gross cash farm income forecast to decline in 2023 and 2024

Gross cash farm income (GCFI) is annual income before expenses and includes cash receipts, farm-related income, and Government farm program payments. In inflation-adjusted 2024 dollars, GCFI is forecast at $549.8 billion in 2024, versus $400.3 billion in 2003, with the increase across time primarily due to higher cash receipts. If forecasts are realized, GCFI would decrease by 8.5 percent in 2023 relative to 2022 and further decrease by 6.1 percent in 2024 relative to 2023.

U.S. net farm income forecast to decrease in 2023 and 2024

Gross farm income reflects the total value of agricultural output plus Government farm program payments. Net farm income (NFI) reflects income after expenses from production in the current year and is calculated by subtracting farm expenses from gross farm income. NFI considers cash, non-cash income, and expenses and accounts for changes in commodity inventories. The inflation-adjusted net farm income estimate was a record-setting $196.4 billion in 2022. In 2023, net farm income is forecast to have decreased by 18.9 percent relative to 2022 and is expected to further decrease by 27.1 percent in 2024. Farm production expenses are projected to have decreased in 2023 by 1.3 percent relative to 2022 and to increase by 1.6 percent in 2024.

Corn, soybeans account for more than half of the 2022 U.S. crop cash receipts

Crop cash receipts totaled $278.2 billion in calendar year 2022. Receipts from corn and soybeans accounted for $148.5 billion (53.4 percent) of the total.

Cattle/calf receipts make up largest portion of 2022 U.S. animal/animal product receipts

Cash receipts for animals and animal products totaled $258.5 billion in calendar year 2022. Cattle/calf receipts accounted for $86.1 billion (33.3 percent) of that total, while poultry and eggs receipts accounted for $77.0 billion (29.8 percent), and dairy receipts accounted for $57.3 billion (22.2 percent).

Last updated: Thursday, February 29, 2024

For more information, contact: Kathleen Kassel