Net farm income could reach a five-year high in 2019, according to new estimates out this week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  However, sales from crops, livestock and other goods are not responsible for most of the gains contained in the latest updates on agriculture finances.  Instead, updates to 2018 figures and government aid to offset losses from trade disputes appears to account for most of the improvement.

USDA’s Economic Research Service projected 2019 net farm income of $88 billion, up 4.8 percent from 2018.  But both years’ estimated were revised sharply higher.  In addition to $20.9 billion added to the estimate for last year, expected results for 2019 were up $18.6 billion compared to the initial figures released in March.

The first installment of the second round of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments should add another $8 billion to farm revenues this year. The MFDs are listed as “miscellaneous programs,” which total $17.1 billion.  That income would offset a sharp drop in revenues from the Agriculture Risk Coverage, or ARC program, which could be down $9.3 billion this year according to USDA.

In all, direct government payments would rise to $19.5 billion, accounting for 17 percent of net farm income.




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