As mentioned a couple of times in the past few weeks, Farm Service Agency (FSA) crop reporting dates have been accelerated with the intent of matching crop insurance needs. This should eventually allow the filing of only one report that can be used by all USDA agencies and affiliated insurance companies. Those revised deadlines include the wheat/barley closing date of Dec. 15.
A check of the calendar will confirm we are almost there. Call your applicable FSA office to arrange an appointment to get your wheat and barley reported soon. The final reporting date for spring and summer seeded crops is now July 15.
It is correct that we don't know exactly what all the 2013 acreage reports will be used for as a new farm bill has not yet been enacted. However, crop reporting has been a consistent requirement through the years no matter what the existing farm bill has offered. Bourbon County producers can call (620) 223-1880 for appointment scheduling.
Changing the subject: the U.S. farm income forecast report for 2012 was issued on Nov. 27 by USDA's Economic Research Service.
This report is worthy of note as it looks at the economic condition of our farming/ranching industry following the worst, most widespread U.S. drought in decades.
Weather conditions in 2012 were tough for many farms and ranches. However, income and equity positions of most farm folks remains quite promising.
Farm income is forecast to decline almost $4 billion from its all-time high in 2011. Net cash income is expected to decline almost $2 billion for the year. Even though these factors are projected to be down some, they remain remarkably stable considering the potentially disastrous weather conditions of 2012.
Value of agricultural sector production is expected to increase with gains anticipated for crops, livestock, and especially revenues from services and forestry sales. Larger gains are predicted for oil crops and other farm income.
Solid gains in the projected annual value of U.S. agricultural production will be more than offset by increases in purchased inputs and payments to stakeholders. In particular, feed expenses are forecast to increase almost $10 billion this year.
Farm equity is projected to achieve a new record high in 2012 as expected growth in farm assets exceeds the expected increase in farm debt. Debt repayment capacity utilization (DRCU) -- a measure of farm exposure to financial risk -- is forecast to tick upward while remaining at a near-historic low level.
Median total farm household income increased by 5.3 percent in 2011, to $57,050, and is expected to increase another 1.0 percent in 2012, to $57,645. Most farm households, particularly those operating smaller farms, rely heavily on off-farm income -- which is forecast to rise 3.4 percent in 2012.
The value of farm assets is projected to establish a new all-time high in 2012, at $2.54 trillion. With continued strong growth in farm real estate values, the 2012 forecast is expected to eclipse the previous 2011 record by $155.9 billion. Farm equity is also projected to establish a new record in 2012, at $2.27 trillion, despite a projected increase in farm debt to $265 billion.
The most important factors affecting the value of U.S. farm sector assets, debt and wealth (equity) in 2012 are net income and borrowing costs. The 2011-12 droughts are unlikely to have an immediate effect on the sector balance sheet since farm asset values and debt levels tend to be based on expectations for long-term farm profitability.
If the droughts are viewed as a temporary aberration, they may not affect long-term expectations.
Farm asset values are expected to rise 6.5 percent in 2012; farm sector debt is expected to increase 4.5 percent. As a result, farm equity is expected to increase by 6.8 percent in 2012.
The projected rise in farm sector assets in 2012 is due mainly to a projected 7.6 percent increase in the value of farm real estate.
Despite the 2011 and 2012 droughts, farmland values are expected to continue rising, given the strength of commodity prices, accommodating interest rates and expectations of continued favorable net returns from the market and government supports.
The value of crop inventories is expected to decline by over 18 percent from 2011. The value of livestock inventories is expected to decline by nearly 2 percent.
The values of machinery and motor vehicles, purchased inputs and farm financial assets are all expected to increase modestly in 2012. For more information on this report, visit http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/FarmInc....
Editor's Note: Doug Niemeir is the County Executive Director for the USDA/Farm Service Agency. Doug may be reached by emailing him at Douglas.Niemeir@ks.usda.gov.