Every January a bunch of people who are smarter than me (except one, who
shall remain nameless) get together and present a series of talks on the
status of Wisconsin agriculture. They cover everything from credit to
cranberries. In days gone by, this report was available only in booklet
form. More recently, each author is a part of a webcast that can be viewed
live over the internet on the designated January date. It can also be
retrieved and watched anytime afterward in the event someone has an
information craving or, in some cases, a bout with insomnia. If you prefer
to take the report into the bedroom or bathroom, a 50-page written document
is also available.
There is no arguing that tracking progress, or lack thereof, has value. At the
same time, what’s true of the greater whole will not always be true of every
individual part. For example, just because overall farm net worth went up in
Wisconsin in 2011, it doesn’t mean every farm’s net worth increased.
Nevertheless, getting a handle on the general health of agriculture is a good
idea and what follows is a small sampling of the report’s highlights:
farm income in Wisconsin increased to $2.4 billion in 2011, which was $350
million more than 2010 and set a new all-time record (the previous record
was set in 2007). The 2011 net farm income was nearly three times that of
Overall farm production costs in 2011 were about $1 billion dollars more
than 2010. The largest percentage cost increases were for feed (+23%),
fertilizer (+30%), seeds (+27%), and land rent (+15%).
Wisconsin farm balance sheet was stronger at the end of 2010 than at the
beginning, and it will improve again in 2011. At the beginning of 2011, the
debt to asset ratio was a very favorable 0.11.
Wisconsin milk production in 2011 was similar to 2010. Cow numbers were
slightly higher and milk per cow was about the same. Domestic milk
consumption was held back by the general economy but this was overcome by
record dairy exports.
2011, the expectation is that there should be plenty of money available to
lend to farmers in 2012 if borrowers can meet the basic credit standards of
projects an average U.S. corn price in the 2011/12 marketing year of $6.40
per bushel. This would eclipse the previous record set in 2010/11 by more
than $1.20 per bushel. That U.S. price would translate to a Wisconsin season
average price of for 2011/12 of about $6.25 per bushel.
Given an election year in 2012, it’s not likely that we will see a new
federal Farm Bill. The thought is that the current bill will be extended
into 2013 and new legislation will be debated at that point. Look for farm
payments to decrease in the new Farm Bill.
If you have an interest in reading or watching the Status of Wisconsin
Agriculture-2012, visit the following website:
more information contact Mike Rankin