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Farm Nets and Finances

A recent survey found the average parent is no better at math or science than a typical sixth grader. While most of us wouldn’t want to admit parity to an 11-year-old, it’s also a humbling, societal indicator numbers and statistics aren’t everyone’s forte.

Agriculture, however, is a business built around numbers. From seeding to harvest, application rates and treatment thresholds, days rarely go by where data isn’t required.

Understand The Numbers

According to the latest government data, net farm income is forecast at $102.7 billion. That would be the highest total since 2012. It would be in the top three highest net farm income totals this century if realized.

However, that income required some assistance. Roughly 36% of net farm income, or $37.2 billion, will come from government payments. That’s a 65% increase over a year ago and the largest outlay to the ag industry on record, according to the Congressional Research Service.

I’m sure for many farm families it doesn’t feel like one of the best financial years in nearly a decade.

Some of that may be because the share of farmer income from off-farm sources is growing. In 2020, the forecast is 78% of average U.S. farm household income to come from off-farm sources.

The Value Of Passion

The great thing about numbers is that by themselves, they’re only objective. It takes people to add interpretation and emotion.

As you sharpen your budgetary pencil, start with the objectivity numbers afford but don’t forget it takes passion to keep a farm rolling.

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