An annual economic report on Idaho’s agriculture industry shows 2018 was a bad year for a lot of farmers.
For the fifth straight year, net farm income for Idaho farmers has dropped. 2018 saw a 27% percent drop, with net income declining to $902 million.
Farm cash receipts stayed about the same, estimated at $7.2 billion. This is according to numbers from a University of Idaho Extension report.
The dairy industry specifically took a big hit, with 15 Idaho dairies going out of business last year.
The Idaho Farm Bureau Association says this is because of weak milk prices and high expenses. Expenses went up 8% last year.
But Sean Ellis, Spokesperson for the Idaho Farm Bureau, says these numbers don't tell the whole story.
"Idaho agriculture, Idaho farming has grown 141% since 1997, the state's total GDP has grown 81%,” says Ellis, “So Idaho farming is out-pacing the state's total GDP by 60%. So it’s still very healthy, very strong, but there's no doubt that there are quite a few farmers and cattle guys who are struggling right now."
Ellis also says because expenses aren't going down, farmers will most likely not see more income in 2019.