U.S. farmers spent a record-high $351.8 billion on agricultural production in 2012, a 10.4-percent increase from 2011, according to the Farm Production Expenditures report, published this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
Crop farms accounted for the majority of production expenditures in 2012. These expenditures totaled $200 billion, increasing 17.4 percent from 2011. Low interest rates boosted new machinery purchases in 2012, increasing the overall farm expenditures for the year. Also, chemicals, fertilizers and seeds cost crop-farmers $55.5 billion last year, accounting for 27.8 percent of crop farms total expense.
On the livestock side, farmers spent $152 billion, up 2.4 percent from 2011. The largest expenditure for livestock farms was feed, on which the producers spent $54.4 billion in 2012. The drought reduced feed availability, causing prices to climb last year, making it the costliest category in the entire agriculture sector.
The entire Farm Production Expenditures 2012 summary is available online at http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1066.