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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Grain Farm Income in Illinois Drops 81 Percent Year on Year

Grain farm income in the state of Illinois for 2015 is projected to average $20,000, compared to an average of $104,000 the previous year, according to estimates released by the University of Illinois on December 9.

After eight years of steadily climbing yields, commodity prices, and income, such low annual grain farm income, representing a year on year decline of 81%, has not been seen since between 1998 and 2002.

Gary Schnitkey, the author of the report, states that corn yields in Illinois will likely average 168 bushels per acre for 2015 compared to 200 bushels per acre in 2014, and combined with declining commodity prices have contributed to the fall in income, which based on demand and price trends, could remain low for the next several years.

To give perspective of the wildly varying levels of income over the past few decades, Mr. Schnitkey compared current grain farm income with income levels between 1998 and 2002 when grain farm incomes averaged $32,200 per year. Meanwhile, during the string of more profitable years between 2006 and 2014, annual income averaged $180,000 per farm.

Based on 2015 yields, the report estimates a per-farm payment of $35,000 to be issued in the autumn of 2016 under the Agricultural Risk Coverage Program, which is in place to help offset low soybean and corn prices. The report goes on to state that if not for these payments, many grain farms in the state would be losing money for the year.

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