Farm incomes (return to labor and management)
rose to $55,678 in 2003, according to a University of Illinois (U. of I.) Farm Business Farm Management (FBFM) survey of 3,018 farms. Farm incomes varied from $40,000 to $45,000 in northern Illinois and $50,000 to $60,000 in parts of central and southern Illinois, reports Dale Lattz, U. of I. Extension farm management specialist.
Farm income figures have varied greatly over the last five years, from a low of $12,976 in â€™02 to the high in '03. A number of factors helped drive up farm incomes last year, including record-breaking corn yields, higher grain prices and a change in the method of calculating depreciation for machinery and buildings.
Grain farmers reported the highest returns to labor and management averaging $57,993, followed by hog farms at $51,359, beef farms at $51,200 and dairy farms at $42,492. On Illinois farms that just raise grain, the cost to grow corn was $2.27 based on a 174-bushel yield. The total cost to grow beans rose in '03 to $8.42 because of the low average yield of 38 bushel per acre.
Total noncapital, living expenses for Illinois farm families rose an average of 8.3% between 2002 and 2003 and are up 11.4% from 2001. Living expenses of 1,102 sampled FBFM farm families averaged $48,159--or $4,013 a month. An additional $4,749 was used to buy capital items such as the personal share of the family automobile, furniture, and household equipment.
The grand total for living expenses averaged $52,908 for 2003 compared with $48,855 for 2002, says Lattz. That's a $4,053 increase per family. The sample farms were primarily grain farms in central and northern Illinois.
Income and social security tax payments decreased in 2003 compared to the year before. The amount of income taxes paid in 2003 averaged $7,571 compared to $9,867 in 2002. The amount of income taxes paid was at its lowest level since 1987.
Medical expenses were higher in 2003, averaging $6,581. This is the second year medical expenses averaged over $6,000.