Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Farm Income and Financial Forecasts for 2016 shows the health of the overall farm economy is strong in the face of challenging markets. Released by the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service, the report shows final income for 2016 is expected to decline after dropping in 2015 following record highs between 2012 and 2014.
Net cash farm income is forecast at $90.1 billion and net farm income at $66.9 billion for 2016. Net cash farm income is expected to fall by 14.6 percent in 2016, while net farm income is forecast to decline by 17.2 percent. Vilsack noted that debt to equity ratios—two key indicators of the farm economy’s health—continue to be near all-time lows. Further, Vilsack says higher off-farm earnings are expected to help stabilize losses due to low commodity prices for rural communities.