American farmers are seeing record production and sales, yet farm expenditures soar.
The Most Productive Era
The most recent Census of Agriculture shows that consolidation continues to take place with American farms. The 2010 annual USDA Farms, Land in Farms, and Livestock Operations report also shows increased consolidation, with commercial farms growing from 9.5% to 10.2% of all farms. Meanwhile, commercial farmers’ share of farm production expenditures has soared in the past decade.
Yet U.S. consumers spend less on food than those in other countries: American consumers pay less than 10% of their disposable income on food.
"We are all fortunate to be living through one of the most productive eras in history for U.S. agriculture," said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the 2011 Commodity Classic. "American farmers and ranchers are seeing record sales of farm goods abroad and looking forward to some of the best net incomes in decades.
"Moreover, because American agriculture produces 86% of the food we consume, our families spend less at the grocery store compared to consumers in much of the rest of the world," Vilsack said. "As producers of high-quality products and conscientious stewards of our lands, American farmers and ranchers deserve our gratitude."
U.S. ag exports for fiscal 2011 are on course to shatter previous records and enjoy a record $47.5 billion trade surplus.
Greater Net Farm Income, Greater Expenses
Net farm income is forecast to be $94.7 billion in 2011, up $15.7 billion (19.8%) from the 2010 forecast. The 2011 forecast is the second highest inflation-adjusted value for net farm income recorded in the past 35 years. Total expenses, however, are forecast to increase by $20.2 billion in 2011, exceeding $300 billion for the first time. Total production expenses this year are forecast 7% higher.
47% Amount annual farm expenditures have grown this decade, topping $285 billion
88.2 million acres of corn were planted in 2010, up from 87 million in 2009
77.4 million acres of soybeans were planted in 2010, down from 77.5 million in 2009