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The ratio of the prices received index, 1910-14=100, to the prices paid index on a 1910-14=100 base (called the parity index). The parity ratio is a measure of relative price relationships. It is not a measure of farm income, of farmers’ total purchasing power, or of farmers’ economic welfare. The well-being of the farm community depends upon a number of factors other than price relationships, such as changes in production efficiency and technology, quantities of farm products sold, and supplementary income (including income from off-farm jobs and federal farm programs). Over time the parity ratio has declined due to greater efficiency gains in agriculture. Compared to a parity ratio of 100 in the 1910-14 time period, the 1998 annual parity ratio was 42.

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