Farmer sentiment rises in latest barometer, but concerns remain

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Ag producers are more optimistic about their financial performance and prospects, according to the latest Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. However, many producers still have some concerns heading into 2024.

The barometer is calculated monthly from a telephone survey of 400 agricultural producers across the country. The newest survey was conducted November 13-17, and saw the barometer rise 5 points, to 115, a 12% increase over the same period the previous year.

The barometer includes two sub-indices, the Index of Current Conditions and the Index of Future Expectations, which increased 12 points and 2 points, respectively.

The Farm Financial Performance Index also saw an increase after reaching a low point in the spring. James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture, said fewer producers are expecting a worse financial performance from a year ago.

“When we asked farmers what their biggest concerns were for the upcoming year, they still point to high input costs as a top concern,” Mintert said. “But rising interest rates and lower crop and livestock prices are also increasingly sources of concerns for farmers.”

The barometer also looks at producers’ thoughts on investing in their operations with the Farm Capital Investment Index. In November, the index rose seven points over the previous month.

Mintert noted that of the farmers who think it’s a good time to make large investments in their farming operation, fewer are saying it’s because of strong cash flows and more believe higher dealer inventories are the reason, implying a potential change in market conditions.

“This shift suggests that farmers might be seeing a moderation in farm equipment price rises, making it a more favorable time for large investments,” Mintert said.

The full report is available here.

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