Here are a few quotes I pulled out. I would love to hear your thoughts.
"In 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated net farm income of $89.3 billion, up slightly from the previous year’s record and 50% above the average for the preceding 10 years."There is a bit more in the article, but those are some interesting numbers that they are throwing around. Like I said, I'm sure it just depends on how you look at things ... but, who is right?
"2007 was a banner year for major crops, with prices significantly higher than they were in 2003, when we last examined this data. Between the two years, corn prices increased 87%, soybean prices rose 47%, and wheat prices jumped 91% in nominal terms. So how much better off were the higher-sales family farms? Quite a bit, as it turns out, but not from farming. Total household income was up 23%, from $59,623 to $73,260, but the entire increase came from off-farm income, which jumped from $30,375 to $47,245 and accounted for 64% of household income. Still, with total household income reaching $73,260 (in nominal terms), 108% of the U.S. average (well below the 128% that USDA farm sector averages suggest), one would have a hard time characterizing these farmers as well-off."
"Who did well, then? The largest commercial farmers were the only family farm subgroup in the USDA survey to show a net increase in income from higher prices in 2007. Very large commercial farms (family-owned operations making more than $500,000 in gross sales) saw a 46% jump in net income from farm sales, from $130,263 to nearly $189,547, easily compensating for their $12,196 drop in government payments between the two years. With off-farm income dropping only slightly between the two years, the 21% increase in total household income, from $220,971 to $267,130, came entirely from on-farm income, thanks to high prices."