"According to USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS), national net farm income--a key indicator of U.S. farm well-being--is forecast at $63.4 billion in 2017, up 3% from last year. The forecast rise in 2017 net farm income comes after three consecutive years of decline from 2013's record high of $123.8 billion. Net farm income is calculated on an accrual basis. Net cash income (calculated on a cash-flow basis) is also projected to be up in 2017 but by a larger share (12.6%), driven largely by sales from previous years' inventory, to $100.4 billion. The 2017 net farm income forecast is substantially below the 10-year average of $86.4 billion and would be the second lowest since 2003 in inflation-adjusted dollars. This is primarily the result of the outlook for continued weak prices for corn, soybeans, and cotton. Most crops and livestock product prices remain significantly below the average for the period of 2011-2013, when prices for many major commodities attained record or near-record highs. Net farm income is down 49% since 2013; net cash income is down 26%. Farm-sector production expenses have fallen slightly over that period (-1%) but not nearly as quickly as commodity prices and revenue, thus contributing to lower aggregate income totals."
CRS Report for Congress, R40152
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html