August 8, 2008


Fertilizer accounts for most of the increase in US farm spending

US Farm Production Expenditures totaled US$260 billion in 2007, up 9.3 percent from the revised 2006 total of US$238 billion, with fertlizers and feed accounting for most of the increase, according to a report by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).


The Farm Production Expenditures 2007 summary said that fertilizers and soil conditioners as an item accounted for most of the increase, with spending in this category up 26 percent.


Spending on feed was up 21 percent while fuel was up 14 percent.


Agricultural Chemicals was up 11 percent while tractors and self propelled equipment, up 11 percent. 


For the first year ever, the trend for all expense items was higher than the previous year, except for Miscellaneous Capital Expenses, which were unchanged.                                                                            


On a per farm basis, feed was up US$3,335, or 22 percent; Fertilizer, Lime, and Soil Conditioners up US$1,684, or 26 percent; and Farm Services up US$1,210, or 7.9 percent. 


Total fuels Expense, at US$12.7 billion dollars, was up 14 percent in 2007. 


Diesel, the largest sub-component, was US$7.71 billion accounting for 61 percent of the Fuels Expense. 


Gasoline was US$2.74 billion, up 16 percent.  LP gas was US$1.5 billion, up 17 percent. 


Fuel prices and weather were two large factors affecting farm production expenditures, during the year. 


Rising petroleum costs also translated into higher prices for fertilizer products, chemicals and transportation costs, according to the report. At the same time, hot summer temperatures across the US produced the sixth hottest summer on record, heightening demand for energy to be used for cooling livestock.                                                                           


The four largest expenditures at the US level totaled US$125.1 billion and accounted for 48 percent of Total Farm Production Expenditures in 2007.  They were feed, 15 percent; farm services, 13 percent; livestock & poultry purchases, 10 percent; and labour, 10 percent.

In 2007, the average per farm US Total Farm Expenditure was US$125,648 compared with US$114,186 an increase of 10 percent over 2006. 


The average total expenditure for a crop farm was US$151,978 compared with US$106,742 per livestock farm.


Average Total Expenditures for large farms (US$1 million and over in sales) were US$3.06 million, 4.3 times larger than the next largest economic class. 

Average spending per farm in 2006 and 2007


Expenditure in 2007 (US$)

  Expenditure in 2006 (US$)

Percentage increase





Farm services 




Livestock and poultry purchases 












Fertlizer and soil conditioners