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The Truth About the Current Farm Economy

January 24, 2020

Although in any single year, farmers could suffer set backs, in general the current agriculture economy compares favorably to historical periods of economic performance for farms.

For most farm households, income from the farm makes up only a portion of the income for the household as a whole.  In fact, in recent years, only about 20 percent of farm household income comes from farming, while 80 percent of farm household income comes from off-farm sources, even as net farm income exceeds the 20 year average for net income. In 2019, federal payments amounted to 31 percent of the average farm income. In general: "Farm households have much greater income and wealth than non-farm households. In 2018, median farm household income was 15 percent greater than median non-farm household income, and median farm household wealth was a staggering 8.7 times greater than median non-farm household wealth."
Author
Daren Bakst is the Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy at the Heritage Foundation and policy advisor for The Heartland Institute.
daren.bakst@heritage.org @darenbakst