Medical Insurance Tops Expense List For U.S. Farmers

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The North Dakota Farm Business Management Education Program has released its annual estimate of living expenses for a farm household. This figure is based on 251 farms that keep detailed living expense records throughout the year. The average household size of the farms was 3.1 people.

Living expenditures averaged $57,404, an increase from $34,889 in 1999 (all figures U.S.).

The largest expenditure was medical care and health insurance at $9,374. Medical care and health insurance has been the largest expense since 2001. In the decade of the ’90s, food was the largest expense. Food now is the fifth-largest expense at $7,540.

The second-largest spending category was shelter, supplies and furnishings at $9,082. This category had an unusually large increase, more than 20 per cent, from last year. It includes upkeep and repairs. The third-largest spending category was personal purchases and recreation at $8,434, which was a seven per cent increase.

Operation and purchase of non-farm vehicles moved up to the fourth-largest expense item at $8,347 for 2008. This was an increase of more than 25 per cent. During the previous 10 years, it was the fifth-largest expense.

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