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USDA predicts higher farm income; challenges remain

Farm income is projected to increase this year in the United States, but how that plays out on the local scene remains an unanswered question at this time.

Net farm income is forecast to be $120.6 million in 2013, up 6 percent from 2012’s estimate of $113.8 billion.

After adjusting for inflation, 2013’s next farm income is expected to be the second highest since 1973, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A return to trend yields would lead to record crop production levels and result in substantial year-end crop inventories.
Net cash income, which measures the difference between cash expense and the combination of commodities sold during the calendar year, plus other sources of farm income, is forecast at $120.8 billion. That would be down just over 10 percent from last year. Even so, 2013’s forecast would be the fourth time net cash income – after adjusting for inflation – has exceeded $100 billion since 1973.

The projected $13.1 billion increase in total expenses in 2013, to $354.2 billion, continues a string of large year-to-year movements that have taken place since 2002.

In both nominal and inflation-adjusted dollars, 2013 production expenses are expected to the highest on record.  Rent, labor and feed are the expense items expected to increase the most in 2013.

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