Minnesota Records Show High Level Of Federal Payments

The average net income for a representative group of Minnesota

farms was $56,083 last year, according to financial records of the farms. The records also show that government payments accounted for 85% of the total net income. The figures underscore the importance of federal dollars to supplement farm income, says Blue Earth County educator Kent Thiesse of the University of Minnesota extension service.

The income figures are from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) Farm Business Management Program. They represent the financial records of nearly 2,300 farms. The figures are fairly typical of farm operations throughout southern and western Minnesota and other upper Midwestern states, says Thiesse.

The farms in the MNSCU program averaged $47,651 in government payments in 2000, or 85% of total net income. An average of $21,808 came from the scheduled Agricultural Market Transition Act (AMTA) payments that are part of the seven-year federal Farm Bill. The other $25,843 came primarily from extra AMTA payments and oilseed payments that were part of the Market Loss Assistance Program, and other federal programs for selected farmers such as the Conservation Reserve Program and disaster programs.

It's important to keep in mind that not all farmers receive a high level of government payments, Thiesse points out. Livestock producers with limited crop acreage and farmers producing specialty crops derive far less of their income from government payments.

Federal government figures show direct payments to farmers totaled nearly $30 billion in 2000. This compares with about $23 billion in 1999, slightly over $12 billion in 1998 and $7.5 billion in 1997.

Source: Kent Thiesse, (507) 389-8141