Chapter 2: Goals & Data

Goal 9: The majority of farms will be profitable.

The Congressional Research Service says that "Annual U.S. net farm income is the single most watched indicator of farm sector well-being” since it “captures and reflects the entirety of economic activity across the range of production processes, input expenses, and marketing conditions that have persisted during a specific time period." The net farm income of farm operations is calculated by subtracting total farm expenses from total sales, government payments, and other farm-related income. Farms are then classified into two categories: farms with net gains (including farms that broke even) and farms with net losses. 

Net farm income in New England has fluctuated dramatically over the past 40 years, but the trendline is essentially flat. Net farm income increased coming out of the Great Recession (2009) due to increasing commodity prices that outpaced expenses. Net farm income then decreased from 2014 through 2016 due to drops in commodity prices.

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