Inflation-adjusted U.S. net cash farm income is forecast to decline $10.9 billion (10.5 percent) to $93.4 billion in 2018, while U.S. net farm income (a broader measure of farm sector profitability that incorporates non-cash items, including changes in inventories, economic depreciation, and gross imputed rental income) is forecast to decline $10.8 billion (14.1 percent) to $66.3 billion.
If forecast declines are realized, net cash farm income would be the lowest since 2009; net farm income would be 3.3 percent above its level in 2016 (its lowest since 2002). Both profitability measures are forecast below their long-term averages.
The forecast declines are due to a combination of higher production expenses, which are subtracted out in the calculation of net income, as well as a decline in the value of agricultural sector production.
However, direct Government farm payments are forecast to increase $1.8 billion (15.2 percent) to $13.6 billion in 2018, reflecting higher anticipated payments for supplemental and ad hoc disaster assistance and miscellaneous programs, including Market Facilitation Program payments to assist farmers in response to trade disruptions.
Find additional information and analysis in Highlights From the November 2018 Farm Income Forecast, released November 30, 2018.