Oregon net farm income drops slightly in 2012

Written by Observer staff reports September 27, 2013 10:00 am

Farmers and ranchers around the state fell short last year of 2011’s near record net farm income, but many sectors of the state’s agricultural economy did well in 2012. 

Despite a 5.2 percent drop in the overall bottom line for producers, Oregon’s net farm income continues a general trend of recovery from the dark days of 

recession.

“We saw a huge increase from 2010 to 2011 and got back up to where we would like to be with net farm income,” said Stephanie Page, analyst with Oregon Department of Agriculture. “We weren’t all that far off last year. Although you never like to see a drop in the numbers, I don’t think a 5.2 percent decrease after such a big year is that much of a concern.”

A newly released economic snapshot of Oregon agriculture shows net farm income at nearly $960 million in 2012. That’s a drop from the $1.01 billion mark recorded in 2011 but a huge improvement from the $452 million recorded in 2010. Oregon’s net farm income began a downward slide during the national recession that ran through 2009 following 2004’s record high of $1.14 billion.

Net farm income balances production value — which reflects the prices paid to growers for what they produce — with expenses. It is the amount retained by agricultural producers after paying all business-related expenses and is considered an important indicator of the agricultural economy’s overall health.

“You have to remember that the net farm income is spread over all producers,” Page said. “The average take home pay for Oregon farmers and ranchers is about $25,000. Some obviously net much higher than that, others bring home less. Much of that depends on the size of the operation and what is being produced. But even the past two years, with a healthy bottom line for the state, our producers are not necessarily making as much as we’d like to see.”

In fact, Oregon ranks 31st of all states in net farm income and lower than neighboring states California, Idaho and Washington.