May 28, 2019 / 5:10 PM / a year ago

Rising costs drive down Canadian farm income 21%

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canadian farmers’ net income plummeted 21% last year to C$11.6 billion ($8.60 billion) due to soaring costs, marking the lowest income level in seven years, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.

Higher borrowing rates and debt levels resulted in interest expenses rising 19.5 percent, the government agency said. Other costs, such as for animal feed, labor and fuel, also climbed.

Farm cash receipts, a measure of crop and livestock revenues as well as government program payments, rose only marginally.

Farmers’ rough year in 2018 came just ahead of China’s decision this year to restrict canola imports from Canada amid a diplomatic dispute. ICE canola futures touched a four-year low last month.

Falling farm income is likely to pose challenges for farm Canadian machinery dealers that are not globally diversified, National Bank Financial analyst Greg Colman said in a note.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba

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