TWIN FALLS • Idaho farmers had a good year in 2012, according to a report by economists from the University of Idaho’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Receipts from Idaho crops and livestock for farmers and ranchers set a record of $7.7 billion — a gain of 5 percent or nearly $400 million from 2011 projections — according to the “Financial Condition of Idaho Agriculture: 2012” report.
Net farm income also rose 5 percent, reflecting that strong crop and livestock prices outstripped the rising expenses agricultural producers faced in 2012.
Idaho proved once again that it likes its milk. The white stuff rose to the top of Idaho agriculture’s money leaders, generating $2.4 billion and helping to rank Idaho third in the nation in milk production.
Cattle and calf sales also were strong, generating $1.7 billion. That total was some $350 million or 25 percent higher than in 2011.
Livestock receipts overall rose 8 percent to $4.3 billion and represented slightly more than half, 56 percent, of the state’s cash receipts. Crops generated another $3.4 billion, a 2 percent increase.
As impressive as these numbers are, however, the new year could have its share of challenges.
Report co-author Paul Patterson said he expects Idaho agriculture to face a number of challenges in 2013. Crop producers will, he said, experience a cost-price squeeze because of persistently high prices for inputs such as fertilizer and fuel they must buy but declining prices for commodities that they sell.
Of particular concern is the dairy sector that will continue to struggle with high feed costs, Patterson said. Higher milk prices during the first half of 2013 will improve margins, but higher milk prices are not expected to last.
Potato growers might also be challenged in 2013, Patterson predicted. Fresh market potato prices will remain substantially below cost of production well into 2013.
To review the report: http://projweb.cals.uidaho.edu/idahoagbiz/files/2013/01/financialcondition2012.pdf