It’s been eight years since federal officials began measuring agricultural expenses on a state-by-state basis. In that time, input costs in Nebraska have almost doubled.
The $189,897 the state’s crop and livestock producers spent on feed, machinery, rented acres and other wants and needs in 2003 rose to $370,085 by last year.
It’s not a small number, and it’s not a surprise to Tina Barrett, who is director of a Lincoln-based business that helps some 400 agricultural customers crunch their budgets each year.
“I think a lot of people forget how much risk is out there,” said Barrett of Nebraska Farm Business Inc., “and how much more there is than 10 years ago.”
“It’s nothing we would have imagined.”
The latest update on farm and ranch production expenses emerged from the Lincoln office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service last week.
Sources there don’t do analysis of their reports, but they do highlight some of the factors that contribute to the final result.
The biggest drivers of 2011 expenditures were tractors and self-propelled machinery, at 44 percent, and fertilizer, at 33 percent.
Altogether, expenses for 2011 reached $17.3 billion in Nebraska, up 10 percent from the previous year. Total expenses per ranch or farm were up 11 percent.
In the ranks of Nebraska Farm Business Inc., the increase in average expenses was significantly higher, going from $650,000 per year in 2010 to $800,000 per year last year.
“We work with mostly full-time, active producers,” Barrett said. “Sometimes, when you include a part-time farm or a hobby farm, the numbers come down significantly.”
Over 10 years, Barrett’s customer base also has seen a big increase in average gross income — from $400,000 to $1.4 million per year.
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