Although in any single year, farmers could suffer set backs, in general the current agriculture economy compares favorably to historical periods of economic performance for farms.
For most farm households, income from the farm makes up only a portion of the income for the household as a whole.
In fact, in recent years, only about 20 percent of farm household income comes from farming, while 80 percent of farm household income comes from off-farm sources, even as net farm income exceeds the 20 year average for net income.
In 2019, federal payments amounted to 31 percent of the average farm income. In general: “Farm households have much greater income and wealth than non-farm households. In 2018, median farm household income was 15 percent greater than median non-farm household income, and median farm household wealth was a staggering 8.7 times greater than median non-farm household wealth.” Download The PDF
Daren Bakst is the Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy at the Heritage Foundation and policy advisor for The Heartland Institute. In this position, Bakst studies and writes about agricultural and environmental policy and property rights, among other issues. He has done extensive work on the farm bill and is taking the lead on Heritage’s efforts to reshape the farm bill debate well before any new farm bill is proposed. His agriculture portfolio is extremely broad, covering everything from agricultural subsidies, agricultural trade, to food policy issues such as GMO food labeling and the FDA’s de facto artificial trans-fat ban.