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Agricultural Income and Finance Outlook, 2009 Edition

by Michael Harris, Ken Erickson, Jim Johnson, Mitch Morehart, Roger Strickland, Theodore Covey, Chris McGath, Mary Ahearn, Timothy Parker, Stephen Vogel, Robert Williams, and Robert Dubman

Outlook No. (AIS-88) 76 pp, December 2009

All three measures of U.S. farm income are projected to decline in 2009—net farm income is projected to decline by 34.5 percent, net cash income by 28.4 percent, and net value added by 20 percent. Considerable uncertainty surrounds the forecasts of farm assets, debt, and equity in 2009, given the volatility of commodity, energy/input, and financial markets. The overall level of farm-business equity capital is expected to fall in 2009, as farm-sector asset values decline by 3.5 percent. Farm debt is expected to remain steady at $239 billion in 2009. Farm financial ratios monitoring liquidity, efficiency, solvency, and profitability show that the sector’s financial performance in 2008-09, while slightly worse than in 2007, is quite favorable overall when compared to the 1980s and 1990s. Average net cash income for farm businesses (intermediate and commercial operations, including non-family farms) is projected to be $61,578 in 2009. This would be 10.6 percent below the 2008 estimate of $68,876. The projected change in income prospects for farm businesses will not affect all farm operations in the same manner or to the same degree. In 2009, the largest declines in farm-business income are forecast for livestock farms, particularly dairy. Farm-operator household income is forecast to be $76,065, down 3.5 percent from 2008. Household earnings from off-farm sources are projected to be similar to 2008.

Keywords: value addeed, farm income, farm costs, farm operator household, farm returns, financial performance, farm finance

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Last updated: Saturday, May 26, 2012

For more information contact: Michael Harris, Ken Erickson, Jim Johnson, Mitch Morehart, Roger Strickland, Theodore Covey, Chris McGath, Mary Ahearn, Timothy Parker, Stephen Vogel, Robert Williams, and Robert Dubman

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