Farm Credit Concerns Rise
The agricultural sector has experienced wide fluctuations in earnings during the past five years. Crop failures in major producing countries of the world led to an explosion in farm income during the 1972-73 period. By 1973 gross income had risen 65 percent above the 1970-71 average, while net income had more than doubled. Since 1973 gross earnings have edged slightly higher, but the trend in net farm income has been decidedly downward. Net income in 1976 was 18 percent less than in the preceding year and 40 percent below the 1973 record. Although high by most historical comparisons, last year's net farm earnings when adjusted for inflation were among the lowest since the Depression. Despite the long-term decline in farm numbers, real net income per farm was the lowest since the late sixties.