Farmers can expect the largest recorded year-to-year dollar drop in net farm income in 2024. How bad is it, and what can farmers do? That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
Income is estimated to be nearly $40 billion lower this year compared to 2023, down more than 25%. American Farm Bureau Federation economists analyzed the latest USDA data in a Market Intel.
Net farm income is the profit farmers see after paying for operating expenses. Two major factors are impacting income forecasts – lower prices paid to farmers for crops and livestock, and increased costs for supplies. While these are early estimates and they could change throughout the year, USDA anticipates a decrease in net farm income, moving from $156 billion in 2023 to $116 billion in 2024.
“Farm families are suffering through the same economic hardships as all families in America,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “High inflation is making the food farmers grow more expensive to produce, and is cutting into the income farm families rely on to pay bills, provide an education for their children, and reinvest in their community. We urge Congress to focus on bringing costs down and passing a new farm bill, both of which will help ensure farmers can continue meeting the needs of a growing nation.”
What can farmers do?
“Producers are used to finding ways to smooth income from year to year,” said USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer.
He said hopefully, during the last couple of good income years, producers have done some smoothing and set aside some money to get through what could be a low income year this year. But he says producers will also need to keep close tabs on costs and refocus on the inputs they’re using.
“I think we’ll see some producers try to make some adjustments in that way as we do every time. Producers say, ‘what’s economically viable for these inputs based upon the output price I might expect? Watching your marketing will be another important element this year,” Meyer said.
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National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.