Farm Income Declines in Kansas

December 9, 2015 07:00 PM

A farm economist with the Kansas Farm Management Association says gross income for farms is down by at least 20 percent in the state.

The Hutchinson News reports that last year southwest Kansas farmers averaged about $56,000 in accrual net farm income, a $50,000 drop from 2013.

Doug Stucky is currently visiting farms across the region working on year-end planning.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted in November that net farm income in the country will drop about 40 percent to $55.9 billion this year, reflecting depressed crop prices and a softening livestock market.

The decrease in income has affected companies that manufacture equipment as well. Randy Veatch, vice president of sales for Straub International, says agricultural manufacturers are reporting a nearly 30 percent decline in sales since about 2013.

"The unfortunate thing is you can't take a 30-, 40-, 50-percent reduction in crop prices and not have some ripples that extend out a long way," he said.

To deal with the decline in sales, companies are being aggressive in efforts to get farmers to purchase equipment by offering discounts and zero-percent financing. Some farmers are considering leasing machinery.

The feeder cattle market may also be seeing a decline due to dropping prices.

Jake Lewis, general manager at Pratt Livestock, one of the state's largest auction markets, says more cattle are being funneled through sale ring because of an increase in customers, but prices have been dropping. He said prices were good until October.

"The year before, you could do anything - anything you bought made money," Lewis said. "Right now, it is pretty tough."

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