Farmers enjoy strong year despite price dropby Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
WORTHINGTON, Minn. — Farmers had another strong financial year in 2011 according to study of about 2,400 farms across the state.
Median net income rose 1 percent from the previous year, to $123,000 per farm. However, crop farmers saw their income decline about 10 percent. Dairy farmers saw the biggest income increase, with profits rising by about a third over 2010.
The study was a joint project of the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
The drop came despite strong corn and soybean prices, said Dale Nordquist, associate director of the university's Center for Farm Financial Management
"The yields were really down quite a bit from 2010," Nordquist said. "And costs were up pretty substantially. So those were the two things that kind of took the edge off the profitability of crop producers."
Nordquist said even though grain prices last year were some of the highest on record, lower than expected yields and higher input costs held down profits. Corn yields fell about 13 percent last year, while production expenses increased 15 percent.
"Profits didn't soar the way we might have expected them to soar," he said.