Every year the Iowa Farm Business Association has an accrual farm analysis. It's a snap shot of the year before to know how profitable or not farmers are by the end of the year.
According to their data, net farm income was at $18,800 in 2015. In 2016, with the same farms, it rose to $32,000. That's helped mainly because of nearly five percent corn yield increase and a positive bean increase.
But the current income is still not enough to support family living, State Coordinator Kent Vickre says farmers are a way off from being truly profitable again, "We're talking $18,000, $19,000 versus $30,000-$32,000, where in the years prior to that our average net farm income was at $85,000 to $100,000. So that extra $10,000 just kind of adds up quickly when we lower cash rent, power machine cost, things like that."
Vickre says cash rent costs fell about $10 an acre and power machine was down almost $15.
He adds, with crop prices still low, the game plan for 2017 is for farmers to keep putting off capital purchases and better managing input costs.
Overall, Vickre thinks farmers this last year did a good job managing expenses, "We saw both fixed costs coming down. I mean, it really helped out in two ways. The cost per acre we really saw drop about that 10 to 15 dollars per acre. Actually, if we look at corn, down 20-21 dollars an acre and we saw more bushels. So that bottom line was that cost per bushel just kind of was lower. But we still really need to watch these markets and hope for a rally to sell that crop in 2017."