USDA: Farm income falling, expenses increasing

New numbers show farm income will fall $34 billion in 2015

New numbers show farm income in the United States will fall for the second year in a row.

According to estimates from the USDA, net farm income in 2015 is expected to drop by more than 30 percent.

Net income hit a record-high $129 billion in 2013. It dropped by more than $20 billion the next year, and is expected to fall another $34 billion this year.

One reason for the decrease is the drop in what farmers are getting for their crops. For example, a few years ago corn was selling as high as $8 a bushel. That same bushel is selling for less than $4 today.

Steve Huntzicker from the UW Extension says there are many reasons why the price of corn is dropping, one of them being the market is flooded.

“I think it’s a little bit of supply and demand that’s factoring into this price right now,” said Huntzicker.

As developing countries overseas go through tough economic times, they’re importing less American corn. That means much of the corn that would have been shipped out is staying in the United States, pushing prices here down.

Huntzicker says as income falls, farmers can also expect to pay more to keep their operations running.

“We’re at a point where they’re re-assessing their input costs, the seed costs, land price and how much that’s costing them, and really looking at the budget to see what they can do to get a productive crop in 2015 at the prices that are being offered,” said Huntzicker.

There is some help coming to farmers who may be feeling financial pressure. The new USDA reports say government programs that pay farmers when commodity prices are low will increase 15% in 2015.