Weather Futures Markets Quotes Charts Options Portfolio Markets Page Headline News DTN Ag Headlines
- DTN Headline News
Farm Income Higher in 2020
By Chris Clayton
Thursday, December 3, 2020 1:57PM CST

OMAHA (DTN) -- Net cash farm income for 2020 is expected to increase 43.1% from 2019 totals, driven heavily by higher government payments, putting net farm income at the highest level since 2013 once adjusted for inflation.

USDA's Economic Research Service on Wednesday updated farm-sector income and expenses, showing stronger overall profit measures for farmers despite declines in cash receipts for livestock producers.

Net farm income, a broad measure of profits, is forecast to rise $36 billion in 2020 to $119.6 billion, reflecting the fourth straight year of higher net farm income for producers. Ad-hoc government payments led by the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 1 and 2) put direct government payments at $46.5 billion, which is $24 billion higher than 2019.

Under the ad-hoc payments, USDA forecasts CFAP 1 and CFAP 2 payments, combined with aid from the SBA Paycheck Protection Program, would account for $32.4 billion in overall farm income in 2020. As of Monday, USDA reported farmers have collected $21.6 billion in aid under CFAP 1 and CFAP 2. Dec. 11 is the deadline to apply for CFAP 2 payments. USDA also noted roughly $3.7 billion in Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments authorized in 2019 spilled over into 2020 as well.

"Without the ad-hoc payments, certainly income at the median would be lower," said Carrie Litkowski, an economist with USDA's Economic Research Service

The higher government payments offset a $9.7 billion decline, or 5.5% lower cash receipts, for livestock producers, especially lower sales for broilers, cattle and hogs, though turkeys and chicken eggs saw higher sales. Broilers saw sales fall $6.7 billion for the year, or 23.7%, while cattle and calve receipts fell $4 billion, or about 6%. Hog cash receipts also fell $1.1 billion, or 5.1%.

Crop cash receipts are forecast to increase $6.5 billion, or 3.3% higher than 2019, hitting $200.2 billion. Higher crop sales were led by larger income for fruits, nuts and soybeans, though crops such as corn and cotton saw lower returns.

Breaking down individual crops, soybean sales in 2020 are expected to increase $2.6 billion while corn receipts fall by $2.5 billion. Cotton sales also drop $600 million for the year, and wheat sales decline $100 million. Yet, cash receipts for fruits and nuts rose $4.6 billion, potato sales rose $500 million and sugar beet sales grew $900 million.

The average net cash income for farm businesses rose by 33%. Farm businesses are defined as operations with gross cash farm income of more than $350,000, as well as smaller operations where the farm is the primary driver for income.

Median farm household income is forecast to increase $3,881 in 2020 to $86,992, which equates to a 3.4% increase once adjusted for inflation. Still, most farm households rely heavily on off-farm income, which is down 1.6% in 2020, or about $800, to $67,950.

Total production expenses also declined in 2020 by $5.2 billion, or 1.5%, to $343.6 billion. Lower interest rates, along with lower livestock purchases and lower fuel expenses all combined to pull down expenses overall. On the high side of the ledger, farm expenses also showed a 7.6% increase in net rent, or a $1.3 billion rise, to put total rent at $18.1 billion. Taxes and other fees also increased $1 billion, or 7.1%, to hit $15.1 billion. Fertilizer prices also rose 5.1%, or $1.1 billion, to $23.5 billion.

Farmers have more working capital in their operations in 2020. Working capital on farms, which measures the amount of cash available to fund expenses after debt due, is forecast to increase 6% for the year.

Farm assets are projected to show a 1.5% increase -- $45.5 billion -- putting farm assets at $3.12 trillion. That comes from higher real-estate values and other financial investments held by the farm sector. After adjusting for inflation, farm assets and equity are relatively unchanged from 2019.

Still, farm debt is expected to increase 4% this year, or about $16.6 billion, to $435.2 billion, led mainly by a 6.1% increase in real-estate debt for farmers.

The farm sector's debt-to-asset ratio also continues creeping upward to 13.95% for 2020, up from 13.61% in 2019.

More details on USDA's Farm Income Forecast can be viewed at:….

Chris Clayton can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
DTN Market Matters Blog
Editorial Staff
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 2:07PM CST
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 2:07PM CST
Tuesday, November 24, 2020 10:11AM CST
Technically Speaking
Editorial Staff
Monday, November 30, 2020 8:26AM CST
Monday, November 23, 2020 8:47AM CST
Monday, November 16, 2020 8:17AM CST
Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin
DTN Contributing Analyst
Friday, December 4, 2020 8:11AM CST
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 11:12AM CST
Wednesday, November 25, 2020 11:18AM CST
DTN Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Friday, December 4, 2020 8:18AM CST
Thursday, December 3, 2020 10:53AM CST
Thursday, December 3, 2020 6:05AM CST
Minding Ag's Business
Katie Behlinger
Farm Business Editor
Monday, October 26, 2020 3:01PM CST
Tuesday, October 6, 2020 11:26AM CST
Thursday, August 27, 2020 9:04AM CST
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 2:44PM CST
Tuesday, November 24, 2020 12:57PM CST
Friday, November 20, 2020 2:35PM CST
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 7:47AM CST
Tuesday, November 10, 2020 4:56PM CST
Tuesday, November 3, 2020 10:21AM CST
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Monday, November 30, 2020 12:12PM CST
Monday, November 23, 2020 12:18PM CST
Monday, November 9, 2020 4:42PM CST
South America Calling
Editorial Staff
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 1:31PM CST
Wednesday, November 25, 2020 12:50PM CST
Monday, November 16, 2020 2:40PM CST
An Urban’s Rural View
Urban Lehner
Editor Emeritus
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 4:27PM CST
Friday, November 20, 2020 12:45PM CST
Monday, November 9, 2020 12:52PM CST
Machinery Chatter
Dan Miller
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Friday, November 27, 2020 5:10AM CST
Friday, November 13, 2020 12:40PM CST
Wednesday, November 11, 2020 4:52PM CST
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Thursday, December 3, 2020 3:22PM CST
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 3:11PM CST
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 4:57PM CST
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 12:37PM CST
Friday, September 4, 2020 3:48PM CST
Thursday, August 13, 2020 11:42AM CST
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN