Idaho ag producers posted a record year in 2011, with a projected $7.4 billion in cash receipts for their industry, up 29% from 2010, a report from University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Scientists economists state.
The news gets better. Net farm income fared even better, soaring 88% in 2011 from the earlier year to $2.6 billion. Those are expendable dollars farmers can use to pay off bills, buy new equipment and supplies, and maybe take their families on vacation.
The report, The Financial Condition of Idaho Agriculture: 2010 Projections, published by the UI Extension "shows the economic importance of Idaho agriculture to the state's economy," says John Hammel, CALS dean.
"The state's investments in agriculture and the college, University of Idaho Extension and the Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station are essential to the state's crop and livestock producers who efficiently produce healthy, affordable food for Idaho's residents and world markets," he says.
Producers benefitted from strong prices and production that combined to outpace rising fuel and fertilizer prices and other costs, states the report compiled by UI economists Ben Eborn, Paul Patterson and Garth Taylor.
They rank the year as "remarkable" because of the cash receipts and net income figures which topped those of 1974 when valued in both inflation-adjusted or real dollars in today's "nominal" dollars. Cash receipts adjusted for inflation rose 68% above the 42-year average. Net farm income was 92% above the 10-year-average.
In 1974, when the famous Russian wheat purchases pushed farm income to unprecedented levels, the previous Idaho record was set .
Nearly every sector of Idaho agriculture posted strong 2011 gains, most of them records, notes Taylor.
The bad news is that U.S. Department of Agriculture projections for 2012 and beyond say net farm income will likely decrease in the next several years due to falling commodity prices. However, new global demand for food products due to increasing world population numbers, could dilute these reduction levels.
The report may be viewed on line at http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/aers/PDF/outlooks/financialcond2011.pdf