Saturday, March 29, 2014

Minnesota farmers' income plunged 78% in 2013

Not a huge surprise, but data from the University of Minnesota's Center for Farm Financial Management shows that farm income was down significantly in 2013. An article from Mike Hughlett of the StarTribune provides more detail:
Minnesota farmers' income plunged 78% in 2013
Article by: MIKE HUGHLETT , Star Tribune
Minnesota farmers’ income dropped 78 percent in 2013, as falling commodity prices took their toll.
Net income for the median Minnesota farm was $41,899, down from $189,679 in 2012, according to an annual report released Thursday by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) and University of Minnesota Extension.
A primary culprit was a drop in corn prices from a lofty $7 to $8 per bushel in 2012 to a more pedestrian $4 to $5 per bushel last year. Also, corn and soybean yields were down as weather conditions were worse in 2013 than the previous year.
“A decline from 2012 levels should not come as a big surprise,” Dale Nordquist, an economist for the U’s Center for Farm Financial Management, said in a news release. “We have to remember where we came from. 2012 was a very profitable year for Minnesota farms.”
Livestock farmers did not fare much better than crop farmers, according to the report. While the price of milk, pork and beef were all up, higher feed costs and other factors pushed down livestock farm profits.
Prospects for livestock producers are better for the coming year, with strong prices projected. But crop farmers will see much tighter margins in 2014, the report said, as commodity prices remain low relative to 2012.
“Most crop producers were in pretty good shape to handle a down year (in 2013),” Nordquist said. “The question is, `How long will these reduced profits last?’”
It will be interesting to see how this year shakes out, once we can get in the fields again.
Noah Hultgren