After setting a record high in 2008, U.S. farm production expenditures decreased by nearly $20 billion in 2009 – the first major decline in nearly a quarter century, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The average production expenditures per farm fell 6.4 percent in 2009, from $140,075 to $131,137 according to the Farm Production Expenditures 2009 summary. Total U.S. expenditures totaled $287 billion, down from $307 billion in 2008.  

Falling petroleum prices were a major factor behind the decline in overall farm expenses, leading to decreases in the costs of fuels, fertilizer and agricultural chemicals. The report shows that farmers and ranchers spent $12.4 billion on fuels in 2009, down 22.5 percent from the previous year. The average U.S. farm operation spent $5,658 on fuel in 2009, $1,642 less than in 2008.

Total fuel expenditures nationwide included $7.22 billion for diesel, down 26.8 percent from 2008; $2.43 billion for gasoline, down 19.3 percent; $1.95 billion for LP gas, down 3.9 percent; and $800 million for other fuels, down 27.3 percent.

Overall, 2009 farm production expenditures decreased in all major categories. Average feed costs decreased 4 percent, to $20,533 per farm; average costs for farm services decreased 4.2 percent to $16,609 per farm; and the average costs for fertilizer, lime and soil conditioners decreased 10.7 percent to $9,171 per farm.

The Farm Production Expenditures 2009 summary and all NASS reports are available online

Source: NASS