Farmer Income Drops Most Since 2016 as Trade War Losses Mount

April 29, 2019 12:50 PM
Personal income for farmers fell by the most in three years in the first quarter, as losses to U.S. agriculture mount from President Donald Trump’s trade wars.

(Bloomberg) -- Personal income for farmers fell by the most in three years in the first quarter, as losses to U.S. agriculture mount from President Donald Trump’s trade wars.

The Commerce Department on Monday cited the steep decline in farm proprietors’ income as a key factor weighing on the nation’s overall personal income growth in March, even though agricultural producers represent only about 2 percent of total employed Americans.

The report provided fresh evidence of the growing financial strain on U.S. farmers hit by the trade war, low commodity prices and a series of natural disasters including spring floods in the Midwest. With rural voters a key part of Trump’s electoral coalition, it also underscores the political pressure to conclude the China trade war as U.S. negotiators begin another round of talks in Beijing this week.

One-time subsidy payments from the Trump administration to compensate producers for some of their trade-war losses helped prop up farm income in the previous quarter, but earnings plunged by an annualized $11.8 billion in the January to March period, according to seasonally adjusted data. On Monday, Larry Kudlow, President Trump’s top economic adviser, said the White House is prepared to do more to help agriculture.

Trump’s budget cuts would lower federal subsidies for crop insurance and small growers. The spending plan for 2020 he submitted for Congress would reduce subsidies for crop insurance premiums to 48 percent from 62 percent and limit current subsidies for growers who make less than $500,000 annually.


©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Back to news


Spell Check

PJ Jahn
Ptown, IL
4/29/2019 04:48 PM

  Just more of the Phony, Counterfeit, Reneging, Lying Conman, Traitor/Trader Trump Making Our Farmers Great Again, eh? U.S. producers are some of the most egregious socialist in the world!

Bob Apple
Nimrod, MN
4/29/2019 07:44 PM

  2016 was worse (with no tariffs) plus Obama tripled health insurance !!

Southern, MI
4/30/2019 05:29 AM

  I’ve just got to add Dave to my list with PJ and Steve, I’m definitely with you guys. If loving you guys is wrong I don’t want to be RIGHT! I prefer to think with my heart and do the compassionate thing, to hell with logic. And the only bad thing that came outta those seemingly elevated crop prices ($14 beans $6 corn) was a new farm bill that created ARC and PLC which seems to have decreasing payment sums right along with decreasing crop prices (well except for that extra tariff subsidy payment. That was substantial). I’m gonna keep buying her books (you know former Arkansas First Lady) cause sooner or later she’ll give us her trading secrets and we can all turn a meager $1000 into $100,000 in 240 days trading cattle! That’s how it’s done BOYZ!


Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by
Brought to you by Beyer