Publications

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  • The Importance of Farmer-Owned Nonfarm Businesses in the Rural Economy

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2013

    Farm households that also operate nonfarm businesses have accounted for about 18 percent of U.S. farm households since the 1990s. In 2007, farmer-owned nonfarm businesses employed over 800,000 nonfarm workers and contributed an estimated $55 billion to their local communities’ gross county product.

  • Understanding Farm Income’s Role in Farm Household Finances

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2013

    Over the last 20 years, farm income has represented a small share of total farm household income--as little as 4.6 percent and never more than 17.5 percent. This pattern supports the counterintuitive notion that farming matters little to the financial well-being of U.S. farm households. However, the share of farm income to total farm household income can be misleading.

  • Farm Income Forecast To Remain High in 2013

    Amber Waves, March 04, 2013

    Net farm income in 2013 is forecast to be $128.2 billion, which would be nearly 14 percent higher than forecast in 2012. Adjusting for inflation, this would be the highest net farm income since 1973.

  • USDA Agricultural Projections to 2022

    OCE-131, February 11, 2013

    USDA's longrun projections for global agriculture reflect steady world economic growth and continued demand for biofuels, which combine to support increases in consumption, trade, and prices.

  • Economic and Financial Conditions Bode Well for U.S. Agriculture

    Amber Waves, December 03, 2012

    U.S. agriculture entered the most recent recession better positioned than most U.S. industries, was less affected by the recession than most other U.S. industries, and is likely to continue to do well in the years ahead.

  • Farmland Values on the Rise: 2000-2010

    Amber Waves, September 20, 2012

    Farm real estate values increased considerably in recent years, with some States experiencing double-digit growth.

  • The 2008-09 Recession and Recovery Implications for the Growth and Financial Health of U.S. Agriculture

    WRS-1201, May 22, 2012

    U.S. agriculture was better positioned than most U.S. industries entering the recession, was less affected by the recession than most other U.S. industries, and is well positioned to continue to do well in the years ahead.

  • Government Commodity Payments Continue To Shift to Larger Farms, Higher Income Households

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2012

    As agricultural production has shifted to farms with larger sales, so, too, has the distribution of commodity-related program payments. Unless the design of commodity programs changes substantially, current payment trends are likely to continue.

  • Net Farm Income Is Expected To Decline in 2012 But Remain at a Near Record Level

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2012

    After 2 straight years of rapid growth, U.S. net farm income is forecast to decline by 6.5 percent in 2012 to $91.7 billion.

  • Trends in U.S. Farmland Values and Ownership

    EIB-92, February 22, 2012

    In the last few years, U.S. farmland values have been supported by strong farm earnings, helping the farm sector withstand the residential housing downturn. Regarding ownership, non-operating landowners play a significant role.

  • USDA Agricultural Projections to 2021

    OCE-121, February 13, 2012

    This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2021. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.

  • Agricultural Income and Finance Outlook, 2011 Edition

    AIS-91, December 14, 2011

    Net farm income is forecast at $100.9 billion in 2011, up 28 percent from 2010 and 50 percent higher than the 10-year average of $67.4 billion for 2001-2010. Net cash income at $109.8 billion would be a nominal record, 19 percent above the prior record attained in 2010. Net value added is expected to increase by almost $24 billion in 2011 to $153.7 billion. Production expenses are forecast to jump substantially in 2011 to a record nominal high exceeding $300 billion. Prices paid indexes drive the forecast increase. Inflation-adjusted 2011 production expenses will exceed the previous peak reached in 1979. The values of farm business sector assets and equity (assets minus debt) are forecast to rise in 2011, while farm debt is forecast to decline from 2010 levels. Farm sector asset values are expected to rise by 6.8 percent in 2011 as the values of land and farm buildings, crop inventories, purchased inputs, machinery and equipment and financial assets are all expected to rise in 2011. Farm sector debt is expected to fall from about $247 billion in 2010 to about $243 billion in 2011. The decline in real estate debt is expected to be about $4 billion (-3.0 percent). The farm business sector's debt-to-asset ratio is expected to decline to 10.4 percent and debt-to-equity is expected to decline to 11.6 percent in 2011, indicating that the farm sector's solvency position remains strong. Average net cash income for farm businesses is expected to increase throughout most of the country in 2011, although income growth is not as high as experienced in 2010. High commodity prices for both crops and livestock are driving these increases, despite increasing expenses in all categories other than labor. Except for poultry, high prices in 2011 have helped the livestock sector to continue the strong performance of 2010 despite an environment of increasing feed expenses. Driven by the gains in most crop and livestock farms, all regions other than the Southern Seaboard are expected to experience at least a 7-percent improvement in average net cash income over 2010. Median farm household income increased by 3.7 percent in 2010 to $54,162 and is forecast to be higher in 2011. Bolstered by higher farm asset values, the balance sheet of farm households improved in 2010, with median net worth increasing by 6.5 percent to $576,745.

  • Impacts of Higher Energy Prices on Agriculture and Rural Economies

    ERR-123, August 18, 2011

    ERS looks at direct and indirect impacts of higher energy prices on the agricultural and rural sectors, with scenarios developed for specific energy price changes.

  • Federal Tax Policies and Low-Income Rural Households

    EIB-76, May 05, 2011

    ERS examines the effects of current Federal tax provisions regarding low- and moderate-income households in rural America, focusing on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).

  • USDA Agricultural Projections to 2020

    OCE-111, February 14, 2011

    This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2020. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.

  • Agricultural Income and Finance Outlook, 2010 Edition

    AIS-90, December 15, 2010

    Net farm income is forecast at $81.6 billion in 2010, up 31 percent from 2009 and 26 percent higher than the 10-year average of $64.8 billion for 2000 to 2009. Net cash income at $92.5 billion would be a nominal record, 2.3 percent above the prior record attained in 2008. Net value added is expected to increase by almost $20 billion in 2010 to $132.0 billion. Production expenses are forecast to rise moderately, reversing the significant declines seen in 2009. However, nominal total production expenses in 2010 and 2009 still constitute the second- and third-highest totals ever. Farm business equity (assets minus debt) is expected to rise nearly 4 percent, largely due to an expected 3-percent increase in the value of farm business real estate and a 2-percent decline in farm business debt. The farm business sector's debt-to-asset ratio is expected to decline to 11.3 percent and the debt-to-equity ratio is expected to decline to 12.8 percent in 2010, indicating that the farm sector's solvency position remains strong. Average net cash income for farm businesses is expected to increase throughout much of the country in 2010. The expected strong recovery in dairy, hog, and cattle receipts will result in much higher average net cash incomes for farm businesses in the Northern Crescent, Basin and Range, and Prairie Gateway. In the Northern Crescent, where dairy is a prominent commodity, average net cash income for farm businesses is forecast to increase by over 58 percent. Incomes are expected to be almost 50 percent higher in 2010 for farm businesses in the Basin and Range region where cattle are an important commodity, a region that showed the Average farm household income of principal farm operators-from farm and off-farm sources-is forecast to be $83,194 in 2010, up 7.8 percent from 2009. This contrasts with the change for the 2008 to 2009 period, when average farm household income declined by 3.3 percent.

  • Simulated ACRE Payments and Risk Reduction Point to Midwest as a Potential Winner

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2010

    ERS simulations of crop revenue variability indicate that for producers choosing to participate in ACRE, expected payments and risk reduction would tend to be highest in the most productive crop regions, which are characterized by consistently high yields and high levels of expected revenue.

  • The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: Changes to the Regulation of Derivatives and their Impact on Agribusiness

    AIS-89, November 10, 2010

    The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act makes significant changes to Federal regulation of the U.S. over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market, with the goals of improving market transparency and reducing systemic default risk. This article reviews some important features of the new law and discusses their potential impact on agribusiness, much of which will depend on how the rules are written and implemented by regulators.

  • Farm Income Expected To Increase While Net Worth Declines in 2010

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2010

    Net farm income is forecast to be $63 billion in 2010, up 11.9 percent from 2009. While the 2010 forecast is $25 billion below the all-time record in 2004 and near record in 2008, it represents a rebound from 2009 when the global recession dampened demand for U.S. crops and livestock.

  • Farm Household Well-Being: Comparing Consumption- and Income-Based Measures

    ERR-91, February 12, 2010

    ERS presents, for the first time, estimates of farm households' consumption expenditures and compares them to consumption estimates for all U.S. households. Consumption can complement indicators of household income in assessing economic well-being.