USDA: Farm incomes to weaken in 2015

by Erica Shaffer
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WASHINGTON – Farm sector profitability is expected to drop for the second straight year, the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture said in its 2015 Farm Income Forecast.

Net farm income is forecast at $58.3 billion, down 36 percent from the 2014 estimate of $91.1 billion. Net cash income is expected to fall to $100.3 billion, a 21 percent decline from 2014 levels. The agency attributed the declines to lower prices for livestock and crops. If realized, net farm income would be the lowest since 2006 and would be a 53 percent drop from the record high of $123.7 billion reported in 2013, ERS said.

Lower prices for hogs and milk are expected to drag on livestock receipts, which ERS projects will be 9.1 percent lower at $19.4 billion.

ERS expects crop receipts to drop $12.9 billion, or 6.2 percent on a $7.1 billion decline in corn receipts, $3.4 billion in soybean receipts and $1.6 billion in wheat receipts compared to a year ago.

ERS projects put farm asset values down by 3.5 percent, while farm debt is expected to increase by 5.8 percent. The agency attributed the drop in farm asset values to the drop in farm real estate, which is down $49 billion, or 2.1 percent compared to a year ago.
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