Economic Well Being

Information and analysis key pieces in ensuring farmers’ economic well-being

The mission of the Illinois Farm Bureau® is to improve the economic well-being of agriculture and enrich the quality of farm family life.

Accurate data and analysis are key to properly representing the financial health of Illinois agriculture. IFB regularly monitors multiple data sources and undertakes timely studies or analysis as needed.

In addition to working regularly with agricultural information experts from agencies, universities and other ag groups, IFB and its partners conduct or contract analyses to help assess markets and measure agriculture’s economic impact.

Expectations are for much lower net farm income for the typical Illinois grain farm in 2019, mostly because of low crop prices stemming from lack of export demand, in the face of extreme competition from large soybean crops in both Brazil and Argentina this year.

As University of Illinois economist Gary Schnitkey wrote in “Grain Farm Income Outlook for 2019: Negative Incomes Ahead?” on January 15, 2019:

“To illustrate the potential for lower incomes, 2019 projections are made using a $3.60 per bushel corn price and $8.50 per bushel soybean price. Non-land costs are increased by $25 per acre for corn and $10 per acre for soybeans over 2018 levels. Cash rent levels are assumed to remain the same in 2019 as they were in 2018. Projections are made with $7 per acre of Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments.

Net cash farm income at trend yields (i.e., 20 bushels per acre lower than in recent years for corn and 6.5 bushels lower for soybeans according to Dr. Schnitkey)… 2019 average net income on Illinois grain farms is projected at -$55,000 per farm, a disaster level of income that would result in substantial reductions in working capital and severe erosions of financial position. Some farms would face financial stress. A -$55,000 would be a much lower income than occurring in the 1980s during the height of the farm financial crisis.”