Chapter 2: Goals & Data

Goal 4: Options for farmers to reduce their production expenses will be widely disseminated and utilized.

Variations in production expenses can reveal particular vulnerabilities for farmers in Vermont and New England, as well as opportunities for driving production expenses down. Production expenses are down from their all-time highs in the 1970s--an era of high inflation and two energy crises. However, national production expenses started creeping back up in 2002 and have subsequently increased 55% ($138 billion) from then until 2014. In New England, production expenses started rising again in 2005 and have subsequently increased 37% ($890 million) from then until 2014.

Although New England farms account for a very small percentage of national production expenses, the percentage they pay for certain categories was different than national averages in statistically significant ways. As a percentage of total New England expenses, New England farms spent more for feed, labor, property taxes, repair and maintenance, and electricity than the national average. Conversely, New England farms spent less on purchased livestock and poultry, fertilizer and lime, pesticides, interest, and custom work than the national average. Differences between expenses for fuel and seeds were not statistically significant.

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