Highlights From the November 2019 Farm Income Forecast
Farm Sector Profits Expected To Increase in 2019
Net farm income, a broad measure of profits, is forecast to increase $8.5 billion (10.2 percent) to $92.5 billion in 2019, after increasing in both 2017 and 2018. In inflation-adjusted 2019 dollars, net farm income is forecast to increase $7.0 billion (8.2 percent) from 2018. If realized, in inflation-adjusted terms, net farm income in 2019 would be 32.3 percent below its peak of $136.6 billion in 2013 but 2.8 percent above its 2000-18 average ($90.1 billion).
Net cash farm income is forecast to increase $15.5 billion (15.0 percent) to $119.0 billion. Inflation-adjusted net cash farm income is forecast to increase $13.6 billion (12.9 percent) from 2018, and would be 10.0 percent above its 2000-18 average ($108.2 billion). Net cash farm income encompasses cash receipts from farming as well as farm-related income, including government payments, minus cash expenses. It does not include noncash items—including changes in inventories, economic depreciation, and gross imputed rental income of operator dwellings—reflected in the net farm income measure above.
Cash receipts for all commodities are forecast to increase $2.2 billion (0.6 percent) to $374.2 billion (in nominal terms) in 2019. Total animal/animal product receipts are expected to be largely unchanged as increases in milk and hog receipts are expected to be nearly offset by declines in poultry/eggs receipts. Total crop receipts are expected to increase $1.9 billion (1.0 percent) in nominal terms from 2018. Sector leaders include vegetables/melons and corn, partially offset by lower receipts for soybeans and wheat. After adjusting for inflation, total cash receipts are forecast to decline $4.6 billion (1.2 percent) following a $3.0 billion (1.7) decline in animal/animal product receipts and a $1.7 billion (0.8 percent) decline in crop receipts. Direct government farm payments are forecast to increase $8.8 billion (64.0 percent) to $22.4 billion in 2019 (in nominal terms), with the increase due to higher anticipated payments from the Market Facilitation Program.
Total production expenses (including operator dwelling expenses) are forecast to increase $0.7 billion (0.2 percent) to $344.6 billion (in nominal terms) in 2019. Spending on feed and hired labor is expected to increase while spending on seed, pesticides, fuels/oil, and interest are expected to decline. After adjusting for inflation, total production expenses are forecast to decrease $5.5 billion (1.6 percent).
Farm business average net cash farm income is forecast to increase $15,000 (19.5 percent) to $91,800 per farm in 2019. This would be the first annual increase after 4 consecutive years of declines. Every resource region is forecast to see farm business average net cash farm income increase by 10 percent or more. All categories of farm businesses except poultry are expected to see average net farm income rise in 2019.
Farm sector equity is forecast up by $56.5 billion (2.2 percent) in nominal terms to $2.68 trillion in 2019. Farm assets are forecast to increase by $70.0 billion (2.3 percent) to $3.10 trillion in 2019, reflecting an anticipated 2.1-percent rise in farm sector real estate value. When adjusted for inflation, farm sector equity and assets are forecast to be relatively unchanged from 2018. Farm debt in nominal terms is forecast to increase by $13.5 billion (3.4 percent) to $415.5 billion, led by an expected 4.6-percent rise in real estate debt. The farm sector debt-to-asset ratio is expected to rise from 13.28 percent in 2018 to 13.42 percent in 2019. Working capital, which measures the amount of cash available to fund operating expenses after paying off debt due within 12 months, is forecast to decline 12.5 percent from 2018.
Median Income of Farm Operator Households Forecast To Increase in 2019
Total median farm household income is forecast to reach $76,191 in 2019. In nominal terms, that income level represents an increase of 5.1 percent from its 2018 level; in inflation-adjusted terms, it is a 3.2-percent increase. This expected increase in median farm household income follows a decline that began in 2015 and continued through 2018. The 2017 and 2018 declines occurred despite improvements in agricultural sector incomes.
Farm households typically receive income from both farm and off-farm sources. Median farm income earned by farm households is forecast to increase slightly to -$1,440 in 2019 from -$1,735 in 2018. In recent years, slightly more than half of farm households have had negative farm income each year. Many of these households rely on off-farm income—and median off-farm income is forecast to increase 2.2 percent from $65,841 in 2018 to $67,281 in 2019. (Because 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.)
- Farm Sector Income and Finances for a discussion of the full farm sector income forecast.
- Farm Household Well-being for a discussion of the farm household income forecast.
- Farm Income and Wealth Statistics for the complete 2019 farm income forecast data and full history of U.S. and State farm sector estimates.
- Charts and Maps About Your State, Charts and Maps of U.S. Farm Sector Balance Sheet Data, and Charts and Maps of U.S. Farm Income Statement Data for farm sector data visualizations.
- Farm Household Income and Characteristics for data related to farm household income and characteristics.
- ARMS Farm Financial and Crop Production Practices data that underpin the farm income forecast and estimates.