Farm Income – 2021

Net income up, government support down.

Reader Bruce Hall bewails the plight of farmers. It was of interest to me to see how the massive bribe the Trump administration propped up farm income in the wake of the disastrous trade war, and how cash income has popped up in 2021. Hence, despite lower government support, net income is forecasted to be up.

Figure 1: Contributions to change in farm income from cash receipts from sales (blue bar), from direct government support (brown bar), and from all other components (green bar). Source: USDA, data of 12/1/2021.

In other words, in 2020, the increase in government support ($23.3 bn) more than accounted for the change in net income ($15.7 bn). Where were all the fiscal conservatives at the time that occurred (equivalently, why don’t I hear cries about farm welfare from those avowed fiscal conservatives?)

Here are the sources of farm income, in levels.

Figure 2: Farm income from cash receipts from sales (blue bar), from direct government support (brown bar), and from all other components (green bar). Source: USDA, data o 12/1/2022.

By the way, I do attribute some of the movements in ag prices to the pandemic (fears of which a commentator in March 2020 assured me was overblown), but note that rising government financial support and falling cash income began in 2019, before the pandemic struck (but after Trump’s trade war started).