After twenty three years of rising costs, farmers finally get a taste of relief. Farm production expenditures decreased by nearly $20 billion last year according to the Farm Production Expenditures 2009 summary released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). After expenses set a record high in 2008, the decline is a welcomed change by farmers.
The decline in farm prices in 2009 put average per farm expenses at $131,137 a 6.4 percent decrease from the 2008 all time high of $140,075. Decreasing petroleum prices are the major factor behind the decline in farm expenses. With several of the largest farm expenses: fuel, fertilizer and agriculture chemicals, being petroleum byproducts the steep petroleum increase in 2007 and 2008 put a steep increase in farmers input costs.
The report shows that farmers and ranchers spent $12.4 billion on fuels in 2009, down 22.5 percent from the previous year. The average U.S. farm operation spent $5,658 on fuel in 2009, $1,642 less than in 2008.
Overall, 2009 farm production expenditures decreased in all major categories. Average feed costs decreased 4 percent, to $20,533 per farm; average costs for farm services decreased 4.2 percent to $16,609 per farm; and the average costs for fertilizer, lime and soil conditioners decreased 10.7 percent to $9,171 per farm.