Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement today about the 2012 farm income forecast from USDA's Economic Research Service:
"Today's forecast is heartening. It confirms that American farmers and ranchers remained impressively resilient in 2012, even with tough odds due to one of the worst droughts in more than a generation. Thanks to its ability to remain competitive through thick and thin, U.S. agriculture is stronger today than at any time in our nation's history, supporting and creating good-paying American jobs for millions. While down slightly from the August forecast, today's estimates for net farm income are the second-highest since the 1970s, while total farm household income is expected to rise. At the same time, the positive trend of falling debt ratios continue. The forecast suggests that strong farm income should remain a positive factor in carrying farmers and ranchers into the 2013 growing season. But as one season comes to an end and another lies on the horizon, we must continue to stand with America's farming families and rural communities, providing help and assistance to those who need it. This year, the farm safety net showed its mettle and merit, helping to deliver peace of mind to thousands of farmers and ranchers dealing with losses caused by natural disasters. It's a reminder that Congress must do the same, and pass a comprehensive, multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that provides greater certainty for farmers and ranchers in the season ahead. Providing the tools and certainty they need is the least we can do for those who grow our food, fiber, feed and fuel, even through the most challenging of times."