Livestock leads Idaho ag to record cash receipts

Sean Ellis

Capital Press

Despite a dip in revenues from wheat and sugar beets, Idaho farmers and ranchers set another record for total cash receipts last year. Total net farm income was down a half percent.

BOISE — Idaho agriculture set a record for total cash receipts in a calendar year in 2013, and five of the state’s major commodities — milk, cattle and calves, potatoes, barley and dry beans — set individual records.

Cash receipts from Idaho crops were down 1 percent to $3.54 billion but cash receipts from the state’s livestock industries were up 6 percent to a record $4.28 billion.

The combined $7.82 billion record total marked the third straight year Idaho farmers and ranchers have set a record for cash receipts.

The projections are contained in the University of Idaho’s, “The Financial Condition of Idaho Agriculture” report, which was released to lawmakers Jan. 2.

The totals are based on sales during a calendar year.

“Agriculture and agribusiness is a fairly good-sized chunk of the state’s economy and agriculture is a stabilizing force within the state,” John Foltz, dean of UI’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, told legislators.

Total revenue, including government payments, home consumption and inventory adjustment, was a record $8.64 billion, but expenses also reached a new record at $5.91 billion.

As a result, net farm income in Idaho totaled $2.73 billion last year, a half-percent decline from last year’s record $2.74 billion total.

The cash receipts record came despite a reduction in sales of wheat and sugar beets, which respectively rank as Idaho’s fourth and seventh largest agricultural commodities in terms of revenue.

Wheat revenues were down 8 percent to $732 million, as production was up 4 percent but prices were down 1 percent.

Sugar beet revenues fell 23 percent from 2012 to $251 million, as the state’s projected 2013 average beet price of $40 per ton was 21 percent lower than the previous year’s price.

Sugar beets were one of the unpleasant surprises of 2013, said UI ag economist Paul Patterson. “Everyone knew the market and prices were soft but the collapse was a lot faster and further than I had anticipated.”

Milk, Idaho’s top ag commodity, set a revenue record of $2.57 billion in 2013, an increase of 6 percent or $151 million from 2012. Production dipped 0.3 percent but prices averaged 6 percent higher.

Revenue from cattle and calves is estimated at a record $1.5 billion, an 8 percent increase over 2012.

Potatoes remained the state’s top crop with a record $965 million in revenue last year, a 1 percent increase. Potato production was down 6 percent but the average price of $7.80 per hundredweight was up 1 percent.

Hay remained Idaho’s third most valuable crop with $539 million in revenue, a 6 percent increase. Hay production was up 8 percent and the average price of $193 per ton was down $1 per ton from 2012.

Barley production was up 4 percent in 2013, the average price was 6 percent higher and barley revenues are estimated to be up 10 percent to a record $337 million.

Dry bean revenue reached a record $104 million because of higher average prices.


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