Assets, liability, and equity all reached new highs, based on data from USDA’s Economic Research Service. The recently released information was based on 41,661 dairy farms compiled in the Agricultural Resource Management Survey.

Here’s a snapshot of the data comparing 2017 to 2016:

Total dairy farm assets: $3.156 million (2017) and $2.949 million (2016), up 7.03 percent

Land and building, assets: $2.094 million (2017) and $1.915 million (2016), up 9.34 percent

Animals, assets: $398,691 (2017) and $407,840 (2016), down 2.24 percent

Farm liabilities: $674,188 (2017) and $549,602 million (2016), up 22.67 percent

Real estate liabilities: $359,092 (2017) and $285,475 million (2016), up 25.79 percent

Total dairy farm equity: $2.482 million (2017) and $2.399 million (2016), up 3.45 percent

While it’s true that total farm assets grew . . . mainly propelled by real estate values . . . animal values already started dipping in 2017. When data for 2018 gets assembled, that livestock number likely will fall even further.

Even though farm equity grew slightly . . . a positive sign for financial health . . . overall liabilities jumped 22.67 percent. That total is just an average as farms fall above and below that number. Liabilities, or future bills that need to be paid, also give an indication for a farm’s financial health.

The complete data set goes back to 1996. If you would like to dig deeper into it, go to:

A word of advice once on the website, on the drop down menus on the left, select the following:

1. Under “Report” click the drop down arrow and select “Farm Business Balance Sheet.”

2. Under “Subject” click the arrow and select “All Farms.”

3. Under “Filter by” click the arrow and select “Production Specialty.”

4. Under “Production Specialty” click the arrow and select “Dairy.”

5. To the right of the selection menu, you will see another drop down menu. Here, you may select data going back to 1996. The default is 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.

Click “Download” and select the style of report you want.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2019
February 11, 2019
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