CHICAGO — Lower prices for corn and soybeans will drive the profits of U.S. farmers down to an estimated $113.2 billion in 2014, a decline of 14 percent from last year’s record, according to the Department of Agriculture.
The forecast for this year’s income is up 18 percent from a February estimate as livestock revenues may reach an all-time high, the USDA said in a report on its website.
Gains in farmland values that climbed 8.1 percent this year are slowing. While rising hog and cattle prices have aided livestock producers, record grain and oilseed harvests are dragging profits, said University of Missouri at Columbia agriculture economist Pat Westhoff.
“It’s a reversal of fortunes,” Westhoff said. “We had several years of incredible crop-sector income, but now it’s livestock.”
The outlooks were raised because of “more optimistic price expectations” this year for both crops and livestock than the February forecast, the USDA said in its report.