U.S. Farm Income Outlook for 2015

U.S. Farm Income Outlook for 2015

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According to USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS), national net farm income-a key indicator of U.S. farm well-being-is forecast at $73.6 billion in 2015, down 32% from last year's level of $108.0 billion. The 2015 forecast would be the lowest since 2009. Net cash income is projected down 22.4% in 2015 to $89.4 billion. The forecast for lower net farm income and net cash income is primarily a result of the outlook for lower crop and livestock receipts-down a combined 6.3%. The fall in cash receipts comes despite record corn and soybean harvests in 2014, as commodity prices plunged in the last half of 2014 and are expected to remain at substantially lower levels compared with the period of 2012- 2014, when prices for many major program crops experienced record or near-record highs. Government payments are projected up by 15% to $12.4 billion, which partially offsets the $25.8 billion decline in crop and livestock receipts. The 2014 farm bill (Agricultural Act of 2014; P.L. 113-79) eliminated direct payments of nearly $5 billion per year and replaced them with a new suite of price and revenue support programs. In particular, the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program replaced the previous Counter-Cyclical Price (CCP) program, but with a set of reference prices based on substantially higher support levels for most program crops. Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) relies on a five-year moving average price trigger in its payment calculation, but also adopts the PLC reference price as the minimum guarantee in years when market prices fall below it. The higher relative support levels of PLC and ARC are expected to trigger payments of $6.2 billion in 2015. U.S. farm income experienced a golden period during 2011 through 2014, driven largely by strong commodity prices and agricultural exports. In particular, U.S. agricultural exports have nearly tripled in value since 2000. However, agricultural exports are forecast lower in 2015, down 6% from last year's record $152.5 billion-due largely to a strengthening U.S. dollar coupled with a weakening economic outlook in several major foreign importing countries. Despite the outlook for lower farm income in 2015, farm wealth is projected to remain at record levels. Farm asset values-which reflect farm investors' and lenders' expectations about long-term profitability of farm sector investments-are projected up slightly (0.4%) in 2015 to $3,005 billion, reflecting a leveling off of the previous year's strong outlook for the general farm economy. The outlook for lower commodity prices in 2015 has slowed the previously rapid growth of farmland values. At the farm-household level, average farm household incomes have surged ahead of average U.S. household incomes since the late 1990s. In 2013 (the last year for which comparable data were available), the average farm household income of $118,373 was about 63% higher than the average U.S. household income of $72,641. The outlook for lower net farm income, coupled with record farm wealth, suggests a mixed financial picture heading into 2015 for the agricultural sector as a whole, with substantial regional variation. Declining prices for most major program crops signal tougher times ahead, and considerable uncertainty surrounds producer participation in the new safety net programs of the 2014 farm bill. Eventual 2015 agricultural economic well-being will hinge greatly on the crop choices made this spring, growing conditions during the spring and summer, and harvest-time prices, as well as both domestic and international macroeconomic factors, including economic growth and consumer demand.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 34 pages
  • 215.9 x 279.4 x 2.03mm | 140.61g
  • Createspace
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1508602018
  • 9781508602019