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UW-Economists: WI Farm Income at Near Record Levels in '13
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/23/2014

Economists with the University of Wisconsin-Madison say most farmers will remember 2013 for its extreme swings in the weather. But in reality, it wasn't a bad year financially for many producers. According to the 2014 Status of Wisconsin Agriculture report, farmer owners collectively earned $3.75 billion in net farm income, just short of the record of $3.8 billion set in 2012.

"We've had three years in a row of very attractive net farm incomes," says Ed Jesse, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor emeritus of agricultural and applied economics.

His report noted that half of the state's farm revenues came from the dairy industry, which generated a record $5.6 billion in milk sales due to a 1.7 percent boost in production and the second-highest average milk price ever.

"But the state's farm revenues and profits may be down a bit in the year to come," he said. "Milk production is expected to increase because of cheaper feed prices in the United States and improved weather in Europe and New Zealand, source of most of the world's dairy exports."

The report's authors also noted that average milk prices paid to Wisconsin farmers could drop as much as five percent in 2014.

Meanwhile, livestock and crop producers also did well during the past year. Receipts were up two percent for meat animals, seven percent for poultry and eggs, and seven percent for miscellaneous livestock products. Although crop producers harvested a huge crop, they earned $200 million less than in 2012 because of the devastating drought conditions.

Vegetable sales revenues were up $100 million, or 25 percent, from the previous year.

The report was released in conjunction with the Wisconsin Agricultural Economic Outlook Forum on the UW-Madison campus held on Wednesday.

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