The headline on the story suggests farm incomes fell by 45 per cent in 2018. Technically, that’s correct if you look at what accountants call total net income. It’s the type of characterization only an accountant and tax department official can appreciate.
What the story really says, however, is that things didn’t change much last year in terms of what farmers saw on their top line. What did hit them were changes in inventory and depreciation totals.
If you read a bit further in the StatsCan report on farm incomes, there is another telling sub-headline. It says farm cash receipts slightly changed. In fact, nationally they actually jumped a bit – less than half a percentage point – as a small increase in crop revenue offset a small decline in livestock receipts.
What the accounting story is, though, is that inventory rose in 2017 as bins were filled. They were emptied last year and that is what brought about the big change in the net realized income line.
In Saskatchewan, the top line was $14 billion in both 2017 and 2018 net cash income went from $4.2 billion to $3.6 billion.