Lower prices for corn and soybeans will drive the profits of U.S. farmers down to an estimated $113.2 billion in 2014, a decline of 14 percent from last year’s record, according to the Department of Agriculture.
The forecast for this year’s income is up 18 percent from a February estimate as livestock revenues may reach an all-time high, the USDA said in a report on its website.
Gains in farmland values that climbed 8.1 percent this year are slowing. While rising hog and cattle prices have aided livestock producers, record grain and oilseed harvests are dragging profits, said University of Missouri at Columbia agriculture economist Pat Westhoff.
“It’s a reversal of fortunes. We had several years of incredible crop-sector income, but now it’s livestock,” he said. “You’re starting to see some softness some places, and in some cases farmers are going to have trouble covering their expenses.”
Income from crops will be up 6.1 percent from the February forecast, to an estimated $200.9 billion, while livestock will rise 14 percent to $209.6 billion. Expenses for this year including seed, fertilizer and animal feed will be $368.4 billion, up 5.8 percent from the February forecast and 4 percent from 2013.
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