U.S. net farm income — a measure of the sector’s profitability — is forecast by USDA to be $55.9 billion in 2015, down 38 percent from 2014’s estimate of $90.4 billion. If realized, the 2015 forecast for net farm income would be the lowest since 2002 (in both real and nominal terms) and a drop of 55 percent from the recent high of $123.3 billion in 2013.
Lower crop receipts (declining by $18.2 billion) and livestock receipts (declining by $25.4 billion) are the main drivers of the change, as total production expenses are projected down by 2 percent ($7.7 billion) and government payments are forecast to increase about 10 percent ($1 billion) in 2015.
Net cash income is forecast at $93 billion, down about 28 percent from the 2014 estimate.
Net cash income is projected to decline less than net farm income primarily because it reflects the sale of carryover stocks from 2014.