Are Farmers Rich?

Eastern Washington farming family sit down to noontime meal; near Wilbur, WA.

Are Farmers Rich?

An interesting question that many people want to know.  Yes, farmers are rich in many ways, but farmers are not wealthy.  They have a full life filled with nature and family, and the fulfillment of seeing the fruit of their labor in tangible ways. Farmers also understand the magnitude and importance of their work on a daily basis.  Can everyone say that about their job?

Are farmers wealthy?  Let’s say that the “average” farmer in Washington State lives a comfortable life, but certainly nothing extravagant!  What many of us forget is the farmer has many expenses.

In 2007, The AVERAGE farmer spent approximately $376 PER DAY to cover expenses. After production costs, the net farm income was $45,454, including government payments.

Input costs are the expenses needed to produce a crop.  The following information is based on the 2011 Agricultural Census and includes statistics of an “AVERAGE” farmer in Washington State:

Expense Input
$29,309 contract & hired labor
$18,238 seed
$16,887 feed
$12,348 repairs & maintenance
$9,682 fertilizer & lime
$8,305 livestock and poultry
$8,089 chemicals
$6,747 fuel & oil
$6,621 cash rent to non‐operator landlords
$5,591 real estate & nonreal estate interest
$4,119 property taxes
$4,743 utilities
$15,506 other expenses


So, to answer the question if farmers are rich…I guess the anwer depends on your definition.


Statistics from:  The Pride of Washington State USDA