U.S. net farm income for 2015 was revised to $80.7 billion
"Today's farm income forecast underscores the unique ability of American farmers and ranchers to plan ahead and make sharp business decisions in a challenging market, as net farm income for 2015 was revised up significantly to $80.7 billion - an increase of 43 percent since the February forecast.
"Falling production expenses, including the price of fuel and inputs, was the largest contributor to this latest rally by farmers. Just last week, farm exports for 2016 were revised up to one of the highest levels on record, demonstrating that U.S. farmers and ranchers continue to beat expectations.
"Overall, farm income over the last five-year period reflects the highest average five-year period on record.
"Although net farm income for 2016 is forecast to decline relative to 2015, the 2014 Farm Bill has provided for a comprehensive farm safety net that will ensure financial stability for America's farming families.
"Farm Bill program payments-including Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC), and the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP)-are forecast to increase nearly 25 percent to $13.5 billion in 2016.
"For producers challenged by weather, disease and falling prices, we will continue to ensure the availability of a strong safety net to keep them farming or ranching.
"The estimates today also showed that debt to asset and debt to equity ratios-two key indicators of the farm economy's health-continue to be near all-time lows.
"In addition to strong balance sheets, median household income for farming families remains near historic highs. In 2016, higher off-farm earnings are expected to help stabilize losses due to low commodity prices." ■