Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement today on USDA's 2011 Farm Income Forecast, which forecast net farm income at $100.9 billion for 2011, up $21.8 billion or 28 percent from 2010.
"Today's farm income forecast shows that the American brand of agriculture continues to be a bright spot in our nation's economy. Following on a strong 2010, all three measures of farm sector earnings again experienced strong growth in 2011.According to today's numbers, farmers are earning 28 percent more for their products than they made last year. And it is making a real difference for America's farm families, whose household income was up 3.1 percent in 2010 and is forecasted to increase 1.2 percent in 2011. This is good news for rural America and for our national economy.
"A combination of factors has made these numbers possible including growth in cash receipts, off-farm employment, and a record high of $137.4 billion in FY 2011 farm exports--which continues U.S. agriculture's year over year trade surplus.
"A strong U.S. agricultural economy means more opportunities for small businesses owners and jobs for folks who package, ship, and market agricultural products. Our farmers and ranchers have worked hard to keep their debt low and to capitalize on a broader economic recovery. Their willingness to adapt, innovate and embrace new research and technologies has ensured their success and can be a blueprint for the rest of the country's economic recovery.
"The Obama Administration will continue to maintain a strong safety net, expand bio-based product opportunities and local and regional food systems, and promote greater export opportunities for U.S. agriculture, all designed to increase incomes for America's farm families."