Net farm income is forecast at $81.6 billion in 2010, up 31% from 2009 and 26 percent higher than the 10-year average of $64.8 billion for 2000-2009.

Net cash income at $92.5 billion would be a nominal record, 2.3% above the prior record attained in 2008. Net value added is expected to increase by almost $20 billion in 2010 to $132.0 billion.

The net value added of agriculture to the U.S. economy in inflation-adjusted terms reached its two highest levels since the mid 1970s in 2004 and 2008. Inflation-adjusted net cash income has reached levels not seen since the mid-1970s for the fourth time since 2004, including the forecast for this year.

The mid-1970s was the last comparable period when U.S. farming enjoyed multiple years of sustained levels of high output and income. 

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack responded to the farm income report, saying, "Today's farm income report shows that America's farmers and ranchers are helping to lead the country's economic recovery.

"All three measures of farm sector earnings have experienced a rapid rebound in 2010 and other indicators — such as farm asset values — point to a sustainable recovery," Vilsack says. "According to today's numbers, farmers are earning 31% more for their products than they made last year. And it is making a real difference for America's farm families, whose household income should rise 7.8% in 2010 from 2009.

"That's good economic news for rural America as our national economy continues to gain strength."