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Farming expenses averaged $900K last year

The average farm in South Dakota spent more than $900,000 in expenses in 2013, almost $15,000 more than what was spent on average in 2012.

That's according to a report released Wednesday from Mitchell Technical Institute's South Dakota Center for Farm and Ranch Management. It's the final report installment in a four-part series.

The total average for costs on South Dakota farms reached $903,743, according to the school's program that helps manage the books for farmers and ranchers across the state.

"I don't know if the average person who isn't involved in a farm completely understands all the costs that go along with it," Kathy Meland, an instructor in MTI's Farm and Ranch Management program. "A lot of these costs have increased in just the last few years."

The average farm in South Dakota in 2013 spent $341,000 in costs in livestock production, which include purchasing feeder livestock and buying feed products. That's about 38 percent of the total costs for an average farm last year.

Farmers spent more on fuel and oil, renting land, repair costs and hired labor than they did in 2012. In the land-rent category, the expenses were up more than $30,000 over last year. The annual report said the average cash rent cost for participating farmers was $107,636, numbers helped by strong commodity prices and good yields.

There is a bright side to all of this spending, she said.

A good majority of these expenses are made locally, something that provides a helpful boost in local economies. Meland, who farms south of Webster, said three-fourths of her expenses come from Day County, the county her family lives in.

"That impact is certainly felt locally," Meland said. "I would say that's the case for most farms in South Dakota."

According to the MTI data, the average farm income in the state in 2013 was $141,973, compared to the 2012 average of $236,437.