The ERS farm income and finance program measures, forecasts, and explains indicators of economic performance for the U.S. farm sector and farm businesses by resource region and commodity specialization. The program's data and analysis are used by USDA and its stakeholders to inform their perspective on the financial health of the U.S. agricultural economy. The analysis is useful in identifying subsectors and business types that are performing particularly well, or poorly, relative to past trends and to other types of farms.

Financial performance measures include the farm sector's receipts and expenses; gross and net value added; and both net cash farm income and net farm income. Measures also include changes in the sector's assets, debt, and overall wealth, as well as financial ratios that depict solvency, liquidity, and efficiency. Taken together, the measures summarize the financial condition of the farm sector. ERS publishes estimates and forecasts of farm income, wealth, and household well-being based on responses to USDA's annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and information provided by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Risk Management Agency (RMA), and other sources of sector-level information.

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