Farm Household Income for 2021F—February 2021 Update

Median Income of Farm Operator Households Forecast to Rise in 2020, Remain Flat in 2021

Total median farm household income is forecast to increase to $86,086 in 2020 and then remain relatively flat in 2021 at $86,917. That is a nominal increase of 3.6 percent (a 2.5 percent increase after inflation) between 2019 and 2020, and a 1 percent increase (a 0.9 percent decline after inflation) in 2021. The forecast rise in 2020—continued from 2019—is notable because it counters the trend from 2015 through 2018 of declining median farm household income.

Farm households typically receive income from both farm and off-farm sources. Median farm income earned by farm households is forecast to increase in 2020 to $767 from $296 in 2019, and then decline to $495 in 2021. The positive median farm income in 2019, and that forecasted for 2020 and 2021, is notable as median farm income earned by farm households was negative each year between 1996 and 2018. The increase in median farm income is partly because of increases in supplemental and ad hoc disaster assistance program payments. In 2020 and 2021, programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, and the latest COVID-19 aid package outlined in the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, are forecast to provide financial relief to those affected by the global pandemic.  As in previous years, many farm households rely on off-farm income: the median is forecast to increase in 2020, up 1.5 percent to $69,784, and to continue to rise by 2.3 percent in 2021 to $71,407, making it the highest median off-farm income since 2014. Since farm and off-farm income are not distributed identically for every farm, median total income will generally not equal the sum of median off-farm and median farm income.

See the Farm Household Income and Characteristics data product tables for financial statistics of farm operator households.