Ag Barometer Lower Again in May


By Andy Eubank, Hoosier Ag Today

Jun 4, 2019


Farmer optimism about the economy has been falling in recent months, mainly from ongoing trade disputes, very late planting and low commodity prices, and now it has dropped to a level not seen since the month before the November presidential election in 2016. The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer was 14 points lower in May.


Jim Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture, says farmers’ assessment of their equity positions is just one area trending negatively.


“Fifty-five percent of the respondents said they expect to see wealth decline in the next 12 months,” he said. “That compares to 39 percent back in February and 35 percent a year ago. So, farmers have become significantly more negative with respect to income and what’s likely to take place with regard to their wealth.”


That coincides with weakness in the Large Farm Investment Index, which measures producers’ attitudes toward making large investments in their farming operation.


“That decline again from a value of 48 a month ago to 37 in May, and that’s the lowest reading we’ve had for that Large Farm Investment Index since we started collecting data in the fall of 2015, as farmers pull back on making capital expenditures on their farming operations.”


Those surveyed also continue to lose optimism about future farmland values and a resolution to the trade dispute with China by July first this year.


“Back in March 45% of respondents said they expected to see it resolved by July 1; that number declined to 28% in April and fell further to 20% in May, so farmers are becoming less optimistic that the trade dispute will be resolved quickly...


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