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Agri-Pulse reports:

With so many weather-related crop losses this year, it's little wonder that USDA is forecasting an almost $4 billion decline in net farm income for 2012.

At $114 billion, the projection is down 3.3% from the all-time high in 2011. Net cash income is forecast at $132.8 billion, down 1.4% from 2011.

Those losses could have been much worse, if it weren't for what are expected to be record crop insurance indemnities and gains in the value of crops, livestock, and especially revenues from services and forestry sales. Larger gains are predicted for oil crops and other farm income, according to USDA's Economic Research Service in a report Tuesday.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack described the results as "heartening," while noting, "it confirms that American farmers and ranchers remained impressively resilient in 2012, even with tough odds due to one of the worst droughts in more than a generation."

Solid gains in the projected annual value of U.S. agricultural production will be more than offset by increases in purchased inputs and payments to stakeholders the agency said. In particular, feed expenses are forecast to increase almost $10 billion in 2012, the report notes.

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