Farm expenditures hit record high

WASHINGTON — U.S. farm production expenditures totaled $260 billion in 2007, up 9.3 percent from the revised 2006 total of $238 billion.

The largest percentage contributors to the increase were fertilizer, lime, and soil conditioners, up 26 percent; feed, up 21 percent; fuels, up 14 percent; agricultural chemicals, up 11 percent; and tractors and self propelled equipment, up 11 percent.

For the first year ever, the trend for all expense items was higher than the previous year, except for miscellaneous capital expenses, which were unchanged.

Factors

Fuel prices and weather were two large factors affecting farm production expenditures, during the year.

One component affecting production expenditures in 2007 was increasing petroleum cost. This translated into rising fuel cost directly, as well as fertilizer products, chemicals and transportation costs. Indirectly, fuel prices and ethanol production have contributed to higher crop prices and increased feed costs.

Frost damaged citrus in California, apples in Washington, and other crops in the Southeast.

Spring and summer drought hindered production in the South, and continued throughout the Mid-Atlantic into the fall. Hot summer temperatures across the U.S. produced the sixth hottest summer on record.

Expenditures

In 2007, the average per farm U.S. total farm expenditure was $125,648 compared with $114,186 an increase of 10 percent over 2006.

On average, U.S. farm operations spent: $18,412 on feed, $16,575 on farm services, $12,903 on livestock and poultry purchases, $12,564 on labor, $8,988 on rent, and $8,070 on fertilizer, lime, and soil conditioners.

Revised estimates for 2006 indicate U.S. farms spent an average of: $15,365 on farm services, $15,077 on feed, $12,532 on livestock and poultry purchases, $11,764 on labor, and $8,787 on rent.

Average total expenditures for large farms ($1 million and over in sales) were $3.06 million, 4.3 times larger than the next largest economic class.

The average total expenditure for a crop farm was $151,978 compared with $106,742 per livestock farm. Total expenditures by farm production expenditure region were up for four of the five regions in 2007.

The Plains had the highest increase at 16 percent, followed by the Midwest up 14 percent. The West remained almost steady with a slight decrease of .7 percent.

The Midwest region contributed the most to U.S. total farm production expenditures with expenses of $74.4 billion or 29 percent up from $65.0 billion in 2006.

The other regions ranked by total expenditures are: Plains at $64.3 billion (25 percent); West at $58.7 billion (23 percent); Atlantic at $32.3 billion (12 percent); and South at $30.2 billion (12 percent).

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