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Financial Characteristics of North Dakota Farms 2007-2008


  • Swenson, Andrew L.


The performance of over 500 North Dakota farms, 2007-2008, is summarized using 16 financial measures. Farms are categorized by geographic region, farm type, farm size, gross cash sales, farm tenure, net farm income, debt-to-asset, and age of farmer to analyze relationships between financial performance and farm characteristics. Five-year averages, 2003-2007, and farm financial trends for the 1999-2008 period are also presented. In 2008, median and average acreage per farm was 2,000 and 2,578, respectively. Median and average cash farm revenue was $464,464 and $607,623, respectively. Over 70% of farms were crop farms and 47 percent of farms had gross sales exceeding $500,000. Median age of farm operators was 47. Financial measures for 2008 and 2007 were much superior to those in other years for the 1999-2008 period. The highest median net farm income was $127,791 in 2007, followed by $114,520 in 2008. The lowest was $27,729 in 2001. The Red River Valley and crop farms typically had stronger profitability, solvency, and repayment capacity from 1999 to 2008 than other regions and farm types, respectively. Exceptions were 2007 when the central regions had the best regional performance and 2005 when the south central region and livestock farms had better performance. The 2008 and 2007 median net farm income for crop farms was $170,181 and $171,838, respectively, compared to only $14,343and $25,531for livestock farms. Farms with sales less than $250,000 were over twice as likely to have debt-to-asset higher than 70 percent than were farms with sales greater than $250,000. Farms that own some crop land, but less than 40 percent were more likely to be crop farms, farm more acreage, have larger sales, and be more profitable. As expected, solvency and percent of crop land owned increased with farmer age. In 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008 the rate of return on equity exceeded the rate of return on assets, which indicates that debt capital was employed profitably. Interest expense as a percent of gross revenue declined in 2007 and 2008 because of sharp increases in gross revenue, after increasing in 2005 and 2006 because of higher debt and interest rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Swenson, Andrew L., 2009. "Financial Characteristics of North Dakota Farms 2007-2008," Agribusiness & Applied Economics Report 60366, North Dakota State University, Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:nddaae:60366

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