Farm Income Outlook for 2013 Positive

Experts speaking at the USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum have an optimistic view of the agricultural economy in the US for the coming year. The positive outlook was boosted by data which showed that net farm income will most likely climb by 14.6 percent, to $128.2 billion in 2013, said Kevin Patrick, agricultural economist for the Economic Research Service of the USDA.

Patrick said that some of the factors influencing the rise in farm income are strong exports and a weak dollar, which has been weakening steadily since the 2008 financial crisis. In addition, debts to asset ratios for all farms have reached historic lows. The average agricultural assets are worth about $2.3 trillion while debt is valued at about $238 billion.

Another economist cautioned that such strong revenue most likely cannot be sustained for the long haul. CoBank’s Terry Barr gave a few reasons why such large income will most likely not maintain itself.

“We’re probably not going to be able to hold $125 billion in [net] cash income, but agriculture is still a strong sector of the economy going forward,” Barr explained.

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