Farm earnings rose substantially last year, breaking a four-year slide. The index of prices received by farmers averaged a record 209 (1967=100). That was 14 percent over the previous year and 9 percent over the previous high in 1974.
Livestock led the upturn as smaller supplies of meat and milk and decidedly stronger demand pushed prices of livestock 23 percent higher than in 1977.
Crop prices contributed to the rise, but with increases that averaged only 6 percent. Crop production surpassed the record 1977 harvest, providing abundant grain supplies throughout last year. But with record foreign purchases and the new grain reserve programs, grain and soybean stocks were not as burdensome as expected.