According to USDA projections, total U.S. net farm income for 2008 is estimated at $86.9 billion. That's little change from the 2007 record of $86.8 billion, but 42 percent above the 10-year average of $61.1 billion.

Net cash income, at $90.7 billion, is forecast to be $3.3 billion (4 percent) above 2007 and 33 percent above its 10-year average of $68 billion. Net cash income is projected to rise more than net farm income because of the carryover of 2007 crops, which are being sold in 2008.

In its Farm Income Forecast 2008 report, USDA notes that the story for 2008 is twofold. Large increases in the value of crop production was offset by rising production costs. The value of crop production, at $181 billion, is forecast to exceed the 2007 record by $30 billion-- or 20 percent.

Income performance will not be the same across all farms. In 2008, the commodity and input forecasts indicate that incomes will likely be lower for cotton, specialty crop and livestock operations. Receipts on these farms are not expected to rise enough from 2007 levels to offset increases in expenses-- unlike the situation for grains and oilseeds.

USDA projects the values of livestock production and livestock cash receipts for 2008 to increase about 4 percent, with higher sales in all major livestock sectors except dairy.

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