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Agricultural Outlook At All-Time Low

The latest Progressive Farmer’s Agricultural Confidence Index is the lowest it’s ever been. The index reflects farmers' sentiments about the market, as many have begun to feel the strain of the most recent global economic slowdown.

Grain prices—the price per bushel of corn and soybeans—have collapsed, and the costs to plant and harvest have stayed the same.

“The margins that farmers are now working with in the grain sector, certainly, in many cases, are probably negative," said Purdue agricultural economics professor Craig Dobbins. "If one were to add up the total cost of production per bushel for corn and soybeans, the price is below the total cost of production.”

The drop in corn prices is due to decreased demand for ethanol production And soybean prices have fallen due to the Chinese economic downturn. China is a major importer of US agricultural products.

Dobbins said he expects the downward trend to continue for one to three years. For Indiana farmers, cutting costs for the next few years will be the key to staying afloat.

“The name of the game in production agriculture is what you can do to get costs under control or costs down below what the prices are in the marketplace,” Dobbins said.

Lower grain prices means consumers may see a slight decrease in the price of meat, but the downward price shift should be minimal.

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