USDA reports 40 percent drop in farm income for 2015

Farm income for 2015 dropped an estimated 40 percent, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, the largest decline in farm income since 1983.

The state of Alabama, however, was not the hardest hit, according to Deacue Fields of Auburn University.

“That 38-40 percent blanket number is for the entire U.S.,” Fields, chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, said. “I don’t think our region will be impacted as much as other regions, specifically because certain commodities here weren’t hit as hard as other regions.”

The price for hogs, rice, wheat and oats saw a significant drop around the country, but the price drop in cotton hurt Alabama farmers most.

“I feel for the younger guys during these times,” cotton and peanut farmer Jimmy Miller said. “If you get overextended in a time like this with low prices it’s hard to recover from. There’s no room for any profit, but thank the good Lord we made good yields with prices like this.”

Miller felt the price drop for both his peanut crop and cotton crop, but he had a good yield this year.

Fields said added input costs lowered slightly and a stronger U.S. dollar hurt agriculture exports.

“When the housing crisis hit, the greenhouse and nursery industry became much more efficient," he said. "Now, the fruit and vegetable and greenhouse and nursery industries are looking at a 6 percent increase. There was no sector in farming in 2013 and 2014 that was doing bad. If you could produce it, you got a good price — that’s not normal. Now, we’re going back to normal.”

Organizations in this story

Alabama Farmers Federation 2108 East South Blvd. Montgomery, AL - 36116

United States Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Ave SW Washington, DC - 20250

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