Oklahoma Experiences Personal Income Growth / 'A Signal Agriculture Is Turning Around'

Article excerpt

the country which experienced growth in personal income during the first quarter of 1988, according to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

That indicates agriculture may be on its way back to playing a leading role in the growth of Oklahoma's personal income, in the opinion of Neil Dikeman, associate director of the University of Oklahoma Center for Economic and Management Research.

Oklahoma's personal income grew by 2.4 percent during the quarter, up to 42.5 billion. That was due to advance subsidy payments to farmers on the 1988 wheat and barley crops, according to the federal report.

Dikeman said an even better picture of the income for the state would be seen in the second and third quarters of the year as the result of higher wheat prices, which have averaged around $3.25 a bushel.

"It may be a signal agriculture is turning around," he said. "The second quarter (report on personal income) will show results of the spring wheat harvest, while in the third quarter we'll see some continuation of hay sales and the peanuts crop."

According to Bob Bellinghausen, state agricultural statistician, wheat prices are up about 75 percent cents per bushel over last year's crop, with most farmers selling at the current price instead of waiting to sell later.

Farmers are expected to take in $562 million as the result in increased wheat prices, a 77 percent increase from $318 million reported in 1987.

Bellinghausen said the agriculture department does not make estimates of how the agriculture community contributes to personal income for the state. However, he said it may be too early to tell what impact wheat will have on farm income because of the deficiency program.

As the cash price on a commodity keeps going up, the deficiency payment which a farmer receives from the government goes down. The actual impact of the decline in deficiency payments won't be known, Bellinghausen said, until about November.

About 93 percent of the state's farmers are enrolled in the deficiency payment program.

Bellinghausen estimated the agriculture community will have a $2.6 billion impact of cash receipts on the state's economy in 1988, about the same as in 1987.

The commerce department study showed that without taking the agriculture community into account, Oklahoma would have experienced zero growth in personal income for the first quarter. …