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Abstract

The performance of over 500 North Dakota farms, 2001-2003, is summarized using 16 financial measures. Farms are categorized by geographic region, farm type, farm size, gross cash sales, farm tenure, net farm income, debt-to-asset, and age of farmer to analyze relationships between financial performance and farm characteristics. Farm financial trends for the 1994-2003 period are also presented. Financial performance in 2003 was the highest of the 1994-2003 period because of a good wheat and barley crop, strong crop prices, and improved livestock profit. Median net farm income was $49,181 in 2003, $38,079 in 2002, and $27,729 in 2001. Financial performance for the 1994-2003 period was poorest in 1997 and 1998 when over one-half of farms could not make scheduled term debt payments with the year's income. A strong improvement occurred in 2000 and 1999 because of extraordinary government and crop insurance payments, record yields for some crops, and improved beef cattle prices. All 16 financial performance measures declined in 2001, except interest expense ratio, because of lower government subsidies, higher costs, and continued low commodity prices. Performance improved in 2002, except for the west region and livestock farms, because of strong crop prices and lower costs.

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