Missouri's 2020 farm income at or above record levels

Net farm income last year in Missouri matched or exceeded the 2014 record of $3.4 billion, thanks, in part to large government payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The outlook for the state's farmers falls in line with the U.S. Agricultural Market Outlook, a summary of 10-year baseline projections presented last month at the annual Abner W. Womack Missouri Agriculture Outlook Conference. The information was released last week by the University of Missouri Extension Service.

The full report is available at www.fapri.missouri.edu.

At the conference, Missouri Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) director Pat Westhoff reported that U.S. farm income last year increased to its highest level since 2014, spurred by government payments and a rebound of commodity prices in the final months of 2020.

However, FAPRI is projecting lower net income for Missouri farmers in 2021 and 2022 because of reduced government payments and higher production costs, despite anticipated increases in crop and livestock revenue. The 2021 and 2022 projected income will still exceed annual revenue between 2014 and 2020, according to FAPRI senior research associate Abigail Meffert.

This year, Missouri crop farmers are expected to plant more acres than ever before in soybeans. Following the floods of 2019, Missouri soybean acreage rebounded in 2020 and is projected to increase in 2021, perhaps exceeding 6 million acres for the first time. Nationwide, FAPRI is projecting soybean acreage will exceed 90 million acres, 7% more than in 2020.

Meanwhile, the state's corn acreage in 2021 will be about the same as 2020, about 3.4 million acres.

As for livestock, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Missouri had a little more than 2 million beef cows and a total of 4.3 million cattle and calves at the beginning of 2021 with only modest changes expected throughout the year, according to Meffert.

Livestock, poultry and dairy cash receipts last year were reportedly held down by lower cattle prices and other factors. Meffert said she expects to see a small increase in livestock sector cash receipts in 2021.

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