Wessels Living History Farm - York Nebraska Farming in the 170s-Today
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The "Average" Farmer in 2007

   
There really aren't many "Average Farmers" in the United States these days – each is an individual and they can vary greatly from one to another. But there are average numbers that describe something of what agriculture is about and who is involved. These numbers are changing all the time and there are differences between the national averages and Nebraska averages – substantial differences. Nebraska farmers tend to be more professional than the national average, yet they are not immune to national trends.

The Average "Principal Operator" Nationally is –

  • White (95.8%) although minority operators are increasing
  • Male (86.1%) although the number of women principal operators has increased from 237,800 in 2002 to 306,200 in 2007 – a 28.8% increase
  • 57.1 years old
  • farms 418 acres
  • generates around $135,00 in gross agricultural sales in 2007 – up from $94,245 in 2002
  • receives around $9,500 in payments from the government in 2007
  • has $109,359 in production expenses subtracted from his income
  • and so had an average Net Cash Income of $33,827 in 2007. That was a lot higher than he got in 2002 – $19,032.

The Average "Principal Operator" in Nebraska is –

  • White (99.3%)
  • Male (93.6%) although the number of women principal operators has increased from 3,005 in 2002 to 4,025 in 2007 – a 34% increase
  • 55.9 years old
  • farms 953 acres
  • generates around $324,992 in gross agricultural sales in 2007 – almost 2.5 times the national average – up from $196,609 in 2002
  • receives around $11,000 in payments from the government in 2007
  • has $258,328 in production expenses subtracted from his income
  • and so had an average Net Cash Income of $83,142 in 2007 – again almost 2.5 times the national average. That was a lot higher than he got in 2002 – $24,820.

This huge jump in Nebraska average net cash income from 2002 to 2007 may be due to the increase in corn prices from sales to ethanol plants, although that market has been very volatile in recent years.

Written by Bill Ganzel, the Ganzel Group. First published in 2009. A partial bibliography of sources is here.


 

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