Though not every farmer felt it on the local level, as a nation, the cost of agriculture production declined sharply in 2015 — reversing a long-term trend of growing costs.
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released a report recently that U.S. farmers spent $362.8 billion on agricultural production in 2015, down 8.8 percent from 2014. Feed and farm services, the two largest expenditure categories for U.S. farmers in 2014, both declined 8.2 percent last year. Producers spent $58.5 billion on animal feed, and $41.6 billion on farm services in 2015.
But not every category enjoyed the break. Livestock, poultry, and related expenses was one of only two expenditure categories that increased last year, up 0.7 percent from 2014. Overall, livestock producers spent $182.6 billion; crop growers spent $180.3 billion.
Regionally, the largest decrease was in the U.S. Midwest region, where agricultural production expenditures decreased by $11.0 billion since 2014. Total expenditures by region in 2015 are:
- Midwest $113.1 billion
- Plains $93.5 billion
- West $74.9 billion
- Atlantic $44.2 billion
- South $37.1 billion
Per farm, the average expenditures total $176,181 compared with $191,500 in 2014, down 8.0 percent. Last year, an average U.S. farm spent $28,408 on feed, $22,047 on livestock, poultry and related expenses, $20,202 on farm services, and $15,443 on labor.