The USDA is projecting further sharp declines in farm-sector income in 2024, which could have implications for ongoing farm bill negotiations.

Forecast: The department’s Economic Research Service projected a 25.5% decline in net farm income from last year, following a 16.0% decline from 2022 to 2023. The declines follow record highs in 2022 and would bring incomes below their 20-year average in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Vilsack Statement: In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack cited the impact of declining demand for U.S. commodities following the pandemic and increased production costs for labor, fertilizer, pesticides, and livestock purchases. Vilsack is scheduled to testify before the House Agriculture Committee this Wednesday, Feb. 14.

Farm Bill: In separate statements, Senate Banking Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-Ark.) said the USDA report underscores the need to pass a new farm bill. Congress last year passed a one-year farm bill extension, giving lawmakers until Sept. 30 to pass a new bill or another extension as negotiations continue in both chambers.