American farmers spent $367.3 billion to run their businesses in 2013, according to a farm production expenditure report published recently by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. That figure tops 2012 expenditures by 2 percent.
“Per-farm expenditures can differ in various parts of the country due to the diversity of agriculture and the varied expenses that come with that,” said Jonah Bowles, senior agricultural market analyst with Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Cotton is not grown in Michigan, and sugar beets are not grown in Alabama. Sandy soils in the East will have a different set of production costs than those with 10-foot topsoil in the Midwest.”
Farmland values also have increased, according to the NASS 2014 Land Values report.
The report noted that in 2014 U.S. farm real estate value averaged $2,950 per acre, up 8.1 percent from 2013. Regional changes in the average value ranged from a 16.3 percent increase in the Northern Plains region to a 1.1 percent increase in the Southeast region. In the report’s Appalachian region, which includes Virginia, the average farm real estate value was $4,320 per acre, an increase of 0.2 percent.
Pasture value in the United States increased to an average of $1,300 per acre, or 11.1 percent above 2013. At the state level, the average value of 2014 pasture land ranged from $360 per acre in New Mexico to $13,500 in new jersey. In Virginia, the average was $3,930 per acre.
“Land values are a function of productivity and competition for other uses,” Bowles explained. He noted that $13,500-per-acre land in new jersey would not be profitable in hay and that the value comes from potential development demand. “Conversely, New Mexico land is valued at $350 because there is little production per acre and demand associated with urban sprawl is slight.”
The two reports are available at nass.usda.gov.