The Secretary announced that net cash farm income for calendar year 2004 is now forecast at an astonishing $77.5 billion. This is an increase of about $9 billion more than last year?s record.
"Several factors account for the positive farm income outlook, including a growing economy and job creation, strong demand both at home and abroad, particularly for livestock products, record exports along with our focus on opening new markets for U.S. agricultural products while maintaining existing ones, and the President?s tax cuts," stated Veneman.
In addition, there are $233.4 billion in farmer cash receipts. The secretary said, "This is a prosperity that is broadly shared across all of American agriculture."
In discussions regarding the import situation and the forecasted agricultural trade balance, Chief Economist, Keith Collins, stated that the agricultural trade surplus, in general, is shrinking and that is on account of consumption rather than competitiveness. Households are more affluent and are requiring more variety in their diets.
"There are a few categories where we?ve had supply gaps or competitiveness issues. We?ve seen a big increase in lamb and mutton imports over the last few years, and that?s simply because there are some low-cost suppliers of those (products) around the world," stated Collins.