Farm Bureau questions whether farm income is really up
The Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service said recently that net farm income and profitability are up to the highest level since 2014, but the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Market Intel service today questioned that view.
“The improvement in net farm income is primarily driven by an increase in federal support, i.e., trade assistance and insurance indemnities related to Midwest flooding this spring, and a reduction in operating expenses,” Farm Bureau Chief Economist John Newton wrote.
“Despite the projection for higher farm income, many real-time indicators, such as loan delinquency rates, farm bankruptcies, land values and financial ratios, show signs of stress for U.S. agriculture,” Newton said.
“Though farmers and ranchers might end the year on more solid footing than current financial conditions foretell, the trade aid that are likely to get them there are not permanent solutions. Instead, farmers and ranchers are banking on trade, rather than aid, to see them through 2020 and beyond.”