Largest Farmers Most Likely to Get Larger

June 3, 2010 06:22 AM
 

Overall, U.S. farmer attitudes are not very upbeat this spring, although they are somewhat improved from last fall, according to a survey of producers with $250,000 income or more done by Rabobank.

When asked whether income would be worse than last year, the following answered Yes:

 

 

Fall 2009

Spring 2010

North Central

82%

78%

South

74%

51%

West

76%

63%

 

"Arable farms have the lowest confidence levels going forward, with key concerns being lower commodity prices and rising input costs,” according to Rabobank. Dairy producers, and, to some degree, beef producers, show much greater optimism—however, they are coming off an extremely negative year last year. 

Looking at profits versus one year ago, there's a very small shift toward better prospects for next year:

 

This year vs. last year

Next year vs. this year

Much better

1%

2%

Somewhat better

22%

23%

Same

30%

31%

Somewhat worse

34%

26%

Much worse

9%

7%

No answer

4%

12%

 

 

 

 

About 30% of producers say they'll buy equipment this year, up from 29% last fall but below the 35% found one year ago, Rabobank reports. But the percentage of those buying new equipment has risen to 28%, from just 15% and 10% in the two surveys last year. Half say they'll buy used equipment and 20%, "both.”

Fifteen percent of producers plan to expand in the next year, with the largest farms (over $1 million gross farm income) and those with the highest number of employees being most likely to expand (20%). The North Central region is most active, with 20% of of producers intending to add land.

Click here for the full report. 

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