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Net Farm Income to Top $100 Billion


U.S. farm income should surpass $100 billion for the first time ever in 2011 on rising cash receipts for both crops and livestock, according to USDA.

U.S. net farm income is forecast at $103.6 billion for 2011, up $24.5 billion, or 31% from 2010. Net cash income is also expected to exceed $100 million for the first time. All three measures of farm sector earnings – net farm income, net cash income and net value added – are forecast to rise more than 20% in 2011.

On an inflation-adjusted basis, 2011 net farm income is expected to be the second highest recorded since 1973.

Much of the increase in farm income is the result of higher crop receipts, which are expected to rise by $33.6 billion – or 19% – with corn, wheat, hay, cotton and soybean receipts expected to show the largest increases.

Livestock receipts are expected to rise by $22.4 million, or nearly 16%, led by rising cash receipts for dairy, meat animals and turkeys.

"Many different crop and livestock categories are expected to achieve record high sales," USDA says.

USDA estimated that farm expenses will jump by $32.5 billion (11.4%) in 2011, exceeding $300 billion for the first time, primarily due to changing input prices. "Prices for all crop-related inputs are expected to be up in 2011," USDA says.

Despite the increase, total expenses as a percent of gross farm income, at 75%, is expected to be 3% lower than in 2010. When adjusted for inflation, 2011 expenses remain slightly below those in 1979.

The value of the farm sector's equity (net worth) is forecast to rise 7.7% in 2011, due largely to a projected 7.1% increase in the value of farm business real estate.

Farm sector debt is estimated to decrease by 1.9% in 2011 and the forecast debt-to-asset ratio of 10.4% would match the historical low of 2007, as would the 11.6% debt-to-equity ratio.


Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

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