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Changes on the farm point to lean years, study says

Changes in the basic structure of US agriculture foreshadow some hard times for the farm economy and rural America over the next 10 years, a study released by the Farm Credit System said Monday. It predicted farm debt will reach a record $465 billion by 1995.

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It said farm that farm output will continue to rise in the next 10 years but that exports will grow at a much slower pace and government programs that support prices will decline. The study forecast that net farm income will average $8 billion to $9 billion a year - up slightly from the 1981-83 average but below any year in the 1970s.

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