Farm Income Reports
Farm Income Reports
I’m Ed Smith, a Northern California farm accident injury lawyer. We have learned from a recent report that Merced, San Joaquin and Stanislaus county farms are losing money and increasing risk to workers.
Recent farm income reports released by Merced, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus county all reveal decreased gross farm income, according to the Modesto Bee. This means that the farms in each respective county brought in less money in 2015 than they did in 2014, forcing many farms to downsize at a large cost to the entire economy of all three counties.
The Decrease in Numbers
By the numbers, Merced reported a nearly 19 percent decrease in total farm income while San Joaquin reported a 15.5 percent decrease and Stanislaus saw a 12 percent decrease. This equates to a combined decrease of more than $1 billion across the three counties.
Causes of the Lower Gross Income
Farms brought in less money partially because of lowered almond and walnut prices, but primarily because of fluctuations in the milk market. With the rising cost of milk’s transportation to creameries and competition with out-of-state milk, many California dairies were forced to downsize their operations. This consequently decreased the income of farmers supplying feed to dairies.
Overall, the decreased availability of water also contributed to farms’ decreased profits as the drought persisted. These losses were at least partially offset, though, by large increases in the cattle, cherry, and egg markets.
By the Numbers – Merced and San Joaquin’s Top 10 Crops
The lists below are ordered with the highest grossing crop listed first and the lowest grossing crop listed second. Therefore, although milk in Merced county experienced a $600 million loss compared to 2014, it still grossed $895.2 million.
- Milk: $600 million decrease
- Almonds: $240 million decrease
- Chickens: $50 million increase
- Cattle: $7 million increase
- Sweet potatoes: $20 million decrease
- Tomatoes: $$23 million decrease
- Silage (feed corn): $24 million decrease
- Eggs: $30 million increase
- Alfalfa: $50 million decrease
- Turkeys: $14 million increase
- Almonds: $150 million decrease
- Milk: $170 million decrease
- Grapes: $130 million decrease
- Walnuts: $180 million decrease
- Cherries: $95 million increase
- Cattle: $55 million increase
- Tomatoes: $3 million decrease
- Silage (other than corn): $10 million increase
- Hay: $41 million decrease
- Eggs: $38 million increase
Potential Impact for Farm Workers
The decreasing gross income of farms in these counties is certainly worrisome for the nearly quarter of a million people employed in agriculture in those three counties alone, but not in the obvious way. The lowered income of farms may impact worker hiring and wages, decreasing the job opportunities for agricultural workers. However, recent California legislation extended greater wage benefits to farm workers, potentially offsetting the overall impact of the farms’ losses.
Less Farm Income May Mean More Hazards on Farms
Where farm workers may instead be greatly affected by the decreased income of farms is in their work environment. As many farms are being forced to cut costs in order to continue operations, areas of safety may increasingly be viewed as too costly to devote serious, responsible effort.
Farm owners may push machinery further before replacement, increasing the risk of a malfunction and accident. Safety markings, signs, and equipment may be neglected because of financial constraints. If farms take these measures, the effects of the lessened farm income may prove to be far more costly for farm workers.
Northern California Farm and Agricultural Injury Attorneys
I’m Ed Smith, a Northern California farming injury lawyer. If you or someone you love has been severely injured in a farming accident, please give me a call at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 for fast, free and friendly advice.
I am a Million Dollar Advocates Forum member.
Information Source of Northern California Farm Income Reports: http://www.modbee.com/news/business/agriculture/article108863107.html
Photo Source: Wiki Media Commons – Tractor.jpg