Another year of decline forecast for net farm income

Net farm income forecast to fall 27% in 2024 to $116 billion.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

February 9, 2024

6 Slides

"It doesn't seem to matter what commodity you're producing or where you're producing it, it's going to be a down year relative to 2023," United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Chief Economist Seth Meyer said about the newly released USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) 2024 Farm Sector Income Forecast.

After reaching record highs in 2022, ERS forecasts income will continue to fall in 2024. Net farm income reached $185.5 billion in 2022. After decreasing by $29.7 billion (16%) from 2022 to a forecast $155.9 billion in 2023, net farm income in 2024 is forecast to decrease further from the 2023 level by $39.8 billion (26%) to $116.1 billion.

Net cash farm income reached $202.3 billion in 2022. After decreasing by $41.8 billion (21%) from 2022 to a forecast $160.4 billion in 2023, net cash farm income is forecast to decrease by $38.7 billion (24%) to $121.7 billion in 2024.

“After the three highest consecutive years on record in 2021-2023, the first farm income forecast of 2024 indicates net farm income this year will return to prior levels,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “During this period of record farm income, U.S. farmers rose to the occasion by producing strong harvests and increasing commodity stocks while the U.S. economy recovered more quickly and more robustly than that of the global economy from COVID-19. As a result, while we have rebuilt the global supply, we are seeing a decreased demand for U.S. commodities and commodity prices are coming down.”

Some production costs have come down, but others, including labor, pesticides, and livestock purchases, have increased, noted Vilsack.

Meyer said that hopefully producers planned during the last couple of good income years and set aside some money to get through this year. Still, producers will need to keep close tabs on costs and marketing this year, he added.

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall said 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.”

AFBF is urging Congress to focus on bringing costs down and passing a new farm bill, both of which, he said, will help ensure farmers can continue meeting the needs of a growing nation.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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