Lower grain prices combined with only slightly larger yields proved to be a perfect formula for lower farm incomes, according to a new report from the Kansas Farm Management Association.
The 17-county KFMA district covering northwest Kansas didnt report the worst income for 2015, but it was just one of three districts reporting negative incomes.
The northwest Kansas district reported net farm incomes in 2015 of minus $2,971. Thats a sharp reversal from the $113,731 reported in 2014. The five-year average, however, stands at $176,661, the association reported.
KFMA is a branch of Kansas State University, which offers accounting services to farmers and uses the data it receives for research purposes.
The northeast district had the poorest results in 2015, reporting a negative average farm income of $11,777; farmers in the wheat-dependent south-central district had a negative income of $9,730.
Each of the six farm management districts in the state reported a lower value of crop production. The northwest district, however, had the sharpest decline, falling from $900,844 in 2014 to $722,590 in 2015.
The report also showed a reversal in what had been an ever-increasing rate for family living expenses.
The 2015 expenses not including income and self-employment taxes fell in 2015 by approximately $4,500.
At least some of that is the result of changes in the states income tax rate exempting more than 300,000 companies, many of whom are farmers.
Exactly how much of a change the controversial tax schedule made is unclear, given the changing income levels.
However, farms in the KFMA northwest district larger farms than much of the state reported paying self-employment taxes of $33,880 in 2013 on $48,966 in net farm income. In 2014, they paid $27,869 in taxes on $113,731 in income.
The 2015 taxes paid on net income losses of negative $2,971 stood at $23,535.
The disparity in net farm income also could be seen county-by-county.
Cheyenne County, for example, had net farm incomes of $10,431. Its irrigation-rich neighbor to the south, Sherman County, had average net farm incomes of $46,750. Thomas County farmers on average lost $109,699.
Rooks $35,731 loss
Rush $30,655 loss
Sheridan $13,094 loss
Decatur $24,571 loss
Graham $72,043 loss
Norton $97,277 loss
Logan $20,349 loss