Harvesting Cash: "Big Farm" Is Having Its Best Year Ever

by: Mark J. Perry

There's sure no recession in U.S. agriculture - "Big Farm" is doing very, very well this year, according to data from the USDA:

  1. Farm income in 2008 ($95.7 billion) is up by almost 64% compared to 2006 ($58.5 billion), see top chart above.
  2. Farm real estate has increased in value by 53% during the last four years, from $1.34 trillion in 2004 to more than $2 trillion in 2008, see middle chart above.
  3. Farm equity has increased by almost 50% since 2004, to a record $2.147 trillion, see bottom chart above. And the debt to asset ratio for farms is at a five-year low of only 9% (down from 11.3% in 2004), since farmers are carrying only $211 billion in debt on $2.359 trillion of farm assets.

Q1. What's next? "Windfall profits taxes" on Big Farm?

Q2. Does this wealthy group of agribusinesses ("Big Farm") really need taxpayer subsidies?