While challenging for individual commodities from time to time, 2020 continued a trend of solid farm economic growth in Idaho. Ben Eborn, Extension Ag Economist with the University of Idaho says farm GDP has grown at twice the rate of the state’s GDP. He noted this comes while the state struggles with the loss of farmland thanks to urban sprawl, particularly in the Treasure Valley.

So what’s the difference maker? Productivity.


“Yields for every crop just continue on a steady trend upward, we are just more and more productive for every acre of ground.  Also, with cattle, we have a lot of dairy cows and beef cows in the state and we produce more milk and beef per animal year after year after year.”

He noted Idaho’s dairy industry continues to expand, adding roughly 20,000 head a year, and with operations producing more milk per head, it allows for multiple sectors and businesses to grow. Eborn added the projection is that state Net Farm Income will come in at roughly $3.5 billion for 2020, up from the record set just a year earlier at $2.5 billion.

“Part of that is because of all of the coronavirus food assistance program payments that farmers received from the government and that’s about $650 million worth, but still even without those government payments we would have broken net farm income records, I think that’s the big story.”

Eborn added the $3.5 billion Net Farm Income is 67% higher than then ten-year average. For a commodity by commodity look at the Gem State’s farm economy, visit PNWAg.net, we’ll have more for you there.



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