According to the new Rabobank U.S. Farm & Ranch Survey, year-over-year income for U.S. farmers and ranchers has improved significantly over findings in the previous two surveys.
"What’s happening on U.S. farms and ranches mirrors the global economy – we’re beginning to see improvement," said John Ryan, President and Chief Executive Officer for Rabo AgriFinance. "That improvement translates into some encouraging – albeit patchy – signs of recovery."
The spring 2010 Rabobank U.S. Farm & Ranch Survey results show U.S. producers report a 24% improvement in income since fall 2009 while about half of U.S. producers state that their income was worse when compared to last year. For example, in the North Central Region in spring 2010, only 58% stated their income is worse. In fall 2009, 82% of respondents said the same thing, demonstrating a 24% improvement – and highest regional improvement.
Future income expectations show the highest index value since the inception of the Rabobank U.S. Farm & Ranch Survey in 2008. Producers expect equal amounts of income improvement and income deterioration in the next 12 months.
Despite optimistic perspectives on increasing income, profits may lag. In fact, the survey found 43% of participating producers reported a decline in profitability. Approximately 20% more producers reported higher input or "cost of doing business" costs than lower costs.
The ag economy remains a concern for 94% of producers nearly equally divided by amount of concern – extremely (34%), very (30%) or somewhat (32 percent) concerned. These concerns vary little regionally. However, the survey results indicate there has been improvement in the ag economy in the South and West, while those in the North Central states are more concerned than they have been in the past.
Looking ahead, more farmers (51%) still expect the ag economy to deteriorate compared to improve (17%).
A copy of the survey as well as regional and further information is available at www.rabobankamerica.com/survey.