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A Volatile Ag Economy Barometer Sees Largest Month-To-Month Drop

ag barometer

(Courtesy of Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture)

A recent measure of agricultural sentiment showed farmers increasingly worried about their economic futures. 

The Ag Economy Barometer saw the largest single-month drop since it was created in 2016. Barometer principal investigator Jim Mintert says farmers are worried about low commodity prices and continuing tariffs. 

He says more than half of the respondents believe the United States Department of Agriculture will provide financial aid again next year – even though the agency has yet to make any announcement.

“Really that response kind of tells us two things: one, it kind of confirms that people don’t expect to see the trade dispute with China resolved really quickly," says Mintert. “And secondly from an income perspective they feel that there’s a pretty strong need for these payments to continue to help offset the impact of loss of market access.”

Producer economic expectations have been volatile the past few months reflecting the uncertainty in trade and yields this fall.

Mintert says farmers are nervous in the near-term. But he says many are still optimistic in the long run, including the value of farmland.

“On the August survey, people became more negative about what was likely to happen to farmland values over the next 12 months, but their attitude about what was likely to happen to farmland values over the next five years didn’t change from July to August,” says Mintert.

To gauge farmer sentiment, 400 agricultural producers from all over the country are surveyed each month.

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