Adjusting USDA’s Net Farm Income Forecast Based on Historic Performance


On November 30th, the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) released revised forecasts for 2018 farm incomes. The revised forecast suggest that aggregate net farm income is expected to decline by 12.1 percent from 2017 to $66.3 billion.

The revised forecast, however, is more optimistic than previous 2018 forecasts released in August ($65.7 bil.) and in February ($59.5 bil.). Historically, ERS’ November net farm income forecast is a pretty good predictor of official net farm income estimates, yet the forecast is slightly downward bias. If the historic pattern continues, net farm incomes are expected to decline by a smaller margin than the current forecast suggests.

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