A report on the performance of the Farm Credit System shows 2018 is another challenging year for agriculture. The report, presented to the Farm Credit Administration board, outlines the economic issues affecting agriculture. Based on its first forecast of the 2018 farm economy, The Department of Agriculture projects net farm income to decline by 6.7 percent, with both crop and animal receipts down from last year.
The report says profit margins for corn and soybean producers are expected to be at or just above breakeven, with prices remaining near current levels. The outlook for most livestock sectors remains positive although less favorable than 2017. Dairy producers will likely see greater losses in the near term, with higher global production and reduced demand driving margins lower. The current trade environment with China has also introduced uncertainty within many sectors of the farm economy. Further, the report says that overall, the Farm Credit System is safe and financially sound, and system institutions are well-positioned for the risks facing agriculture.