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Abstract

On January 1, 1977, the value of farm assets totaled $670.9 billion. After deducting $102.1 billion in debts, proprietors' equity in those assets equaled $568.8 billion. At the beginning of 1976 the asset, equity, and debt values were $592.8 billion, $502.0 billion, and $90.8 billion, respectively. Farm real estate accounted for the bulk of the asset value gain, as usual, but other assets also posted a net gain of $15.0 billion. Farm debt rose 1.5 percent in 1976, somewhat faster than in the previous year while equity increased 13.3 percent, about the same as in 1975. On January 1, 1977, the debt to asset ratio was 15.2 percent, equaling that of 1974 and until then, the lowest since 1965. Capital gains on the major production assets (land, machinery, livestock, and stored crops), totaled $441.8 billion from 1960 to 1976, with land accounting for 87 percent of the total. Farm capital accumulation rose $13.0 billion to total $148.1 billion since 1960. Farm production assets, those items most closely associated with producing farm products, totaled $564.1 billion on January 1, 1977. The average value per farm was $204,960. Those values were about 14 percent higher than a year earlier. The rate of return to farm proprietors' equity in those assets for 1976 was 2.4 percent, compared with 4.4 percent in 1975, 5.5 percent in 1974, and 10.2 percent in 1973.

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