MOSCOW, ID--Potatoes produced the brightest spot for Idaho growers. The state's most famous agricultural product accounted for $664 million in sales, a 27 percent gain from 2005, according to projections by University of Idaho agricultural economists as reported in a University of Idaho press release.
Hay sales grew to nurture Idaho's growing dairy herd, yielding $373 million or a 12 percent increase from 2005. Idaho's beef and dairy operations again provided the biggest share of nearly $4.5 billion in cash receipts collected by the state's agricultural industry in 2006.
The total receipts topped 2005 performance for another record, but a modest one. The gain was $5 million, a tenth of a percent the economists projected.
Unfortunately, high costs for fuel, fertilizer and even feed outstripped the modest gain in gross receipts. Idaho's net farm income slid 23 percent from the previous year from $1.125 billion to $868 million. The decline followed a 36 percent drop in net farm income last year, both hangovers from an astronomical 101 percent gain in 2004.
The two straight declines dropped net farm income to 8 percent below the 37-year average adjusted for inflation.
"The Financial Condition of Idaho Agriculture: 2006 projections" was prepared by Ben Eborn, UI extension educator in Teton County, Paul Patterson, Extension agricultural economist at the Idaho Falls Research and Extension Center, and Taylor, Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology Department regional economist at Moscow.