2008 Annual Report of the Southwestern Minnesota Farm Business Management Association

Average net farm income was $190,901 in 2008 for the 99 farms included in this annual report of the Southwestern Minnesota Farm Business Management Association. Average earnings decreased by 21% from the average of $242,267 in 2007 (Figure 1). 2008 ended a steady trend of increasing year-to-year incomes for these farms from 2001 to 2007. Crop farms, with historically high corn and soybean prices, remained very profitable. However, specialized hog farms, which had been very profitable for the past four years, experienced substantial losses. Highlights of association financial results for 2008: Median net farm income was $178,874, slightly lower than the average, indicating that the average was increased by high profits of the most profitable farms. This effect was not as large as previous years, likely because of losses by larger hog operations. • The difference between the most profitable farms and the least profitable continued to increase. The most profitable 20% of the farms earned an average net farm income of $449,997 while the least profitable lost $-29,476. • Average gross cash income increased by 20% while expenses increased 22% for the average farm. Most of the reduction in income resulted from a lower value of inventory changes. Inventories did increase in value, but not by as much as in 2007. • Government payments accounted for 2% of gross cash farm income (Figure 2). Crop sales accounted for 50% of income while livestock sales were 42%. • Average rate of return on assets (ROA) was 11% with assets valued at adjusted cost or book value, down from 17% in 2007 (Figure 3). Rate of return on equity (ROE) averaged 15%, down from 25 percent. The fact that ROE exceeded ROA indicates that debt capital earned more than its cost. • The average farm generated net worth growth of $115,999. The average debt-to-asset ratio improved slightly to 39%, down from 40% (Figure 4). • Corn yields were up but soybean yields were down. Corn averaged 172 bushels per acre compared to 162 in 2007. Soybeans yields decreased to 44 bushels from 49 in 2007 (Figure 5). • Both corn and soybean prices received increased by over 50% to $4.51 for corn and $10.83 for soybeans. • The cost to raise an acre of corn (with land rent) increased by 23% while soybean costs increased by 21%. The cost to produce a bushel of corn on cash rented land increased from $2.58 per bushel in 2007 to $2.90 in 2008, while soybean costs per bushel increased from $6.14 to $7.21. • The average specialized hog operation (those with 70% of sales from hogs or pigs) lost over $150,000 in 2008 (Figure 6). All other farm types with enough farms to report averaged net incomes very close to the association average. • Based on rate of return on assets, crop farms (those with 70% of sales from crops) were the most profitable type of farm in 2008, with an ROA of 14.7% (Figure 7). All other farm types were profitable except specialized hog farms, which earned a -2.2% ROA. • Hog farms, after large losses in 2008, replaced Crop/Beef farms as the type of farm group with the highest debt to asset ratio at the end of the year (Figure 8). • The largest farms, those with gross revenue over $1,000,000, were the least profitable based on rate of return on assets. This group earned an average ROA of 7% compared to 14% for farms that grossed between $500,000 and $1,000,000. • With exceptionally high feed prices, no hog or beef enterprise, with the exception of contract growing of hogs (where the contractor provided the feed) covered even direct costs of production. The report provides additional information on profitability, liquidity, and solvency as well as other whole-farm information and detailed information on crop and livestock enterprises. Also reported are whole-farm financial condition and performance by county, sales size class, type of farm, debt-to-asset ratio, and age of operator.

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