Farm expenditures decrease nationwide in 2009


Sept. 7, 2010 at 4:07 a.m.

It became more affordable to be a farmer in 2009.

Farm expenditures nationwide decreased by almost $20 billion in 2009, according to a United States Department of Agriculture news release. The decrease - the first of its kind since 1986 - follows 2008's record high, according to the release.

Average production expenses per farm decreased from $140,075 to $131,137.

Decreased fertilizer prices played a major role in lowering expenditures, said Larry Faulkner, extension economist for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

In 2008, logistical problems and other issues significantly boosted the price of fertilizers, particularly pot ash, nitrogen and phosphate, he said.

"It's come back since then but we're still historically at very high levels," Faulkner said.

Petroleum prices contributed to drops in fertilizer prices, as well as fuel and and chemical prices, according to the release.

2009 fuel prices were much lower when compared to the previous year, said Joe Janak, a Victoria County extension agent. That helps, particularly because farmers require so much fuel to produce crops.

The average U.S. farm spent $5,658 on fuel in 2009, according to the USDA news release. That's $1,642 less than the previous year.

Even slight decreases can make a difference for producers, especially since, locally, 2009 was such a difficult year, Janak said.

"Most did not make any money last year because of the drought," he said. "Anything that would help to lessen expenses surely helps."



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