Farmers remain cautiously optimistic about agricultural economy

Agricultural producer sentiment improved slightly in July as the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer index rose 2 points to a reading of 123. Farmers were also more optimistic about their perception of current conditions and future expectations on their farms. The Index of Current Conditions rose 5 points to a reading of 121, while the Index of Future Expectations was up one point to 124. The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted July 10-14.

“Producers were slightly more confident about the farming economy in July, despite recent crop price volatility and continued concerns about rising interest rates,” said James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

The improvement in farmers’ perspective on current conditions spilled over into a modest rise in July’s Farm Capital Investment Index, up 3 points to a reading of 45. However, the index has greatly improved, up 14 points, since bottoming out in November 2022. Comparing July’s responses to last fall’s low point, the percentage of producers saying now is a good time for large investments has improved from 10% who felt that way in November to 17% in July. Additionally, the percentage of farmers who feel it’s a bad time to invest was down from 79% who felt that way in November to 72% in July.

Surprisingly, the improvement in this month’s investment index occurred despite a rise in the percentage of producers who expect interest rates to rise over the next year. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of producers in July said they expect interest rates to increase, up from 57% in June. Among those who indicated that now is a bad time to make large investments, their top reason was concern about rising interest rates.

Given the volatility in commodity prices, especially crop prices, this spring and early summer, it’s notable that more producers expressed concern about rising interest rates than declining output prices. Producers’ top concern for their farming operations in the upcoming year is still higher input costs (37% of respondents), followed by rising interest rates (24% of respondents) and lower output prices (19% of respondents).

Confidence among farmers regarding the future direction of farmland values continues, even as nearly two-thirds of survey respondents expect interest rates to rise over the next year. The Long-Term Farmland Value Expectations Index remained unchanged in July at a reading of 151 while the Short-Term Farmland Value Expectations Index declined just one point to 125. This month, corn and soybean producers were once again asked about their farmland cash rental rate expectations for 2024. Similar to last month, nearly one-quarter (24%) of respondents expect rental rates to rise, compared to 2023, while just over 7 out of 10 (71%) of producers look for no change in rental rates.

Farmers’ rating of financial conditions on their farms was virtually unchanged in July, as the Farm Financial Conditions Index rose just one point to a reading of 87. When asked to look ahead one year, there was a 1 percentage point increase in farmers expecting farm financial conditions to improve over the previous month and a 1-point decline in the percentage of farmers expecting conditions to worsen. Farmers’ longer-term perspective on the U.S. agricultural economy did improve somewhat in July. The percentage of respondents expecting bad times in the upcoming five years fell 2 percentage points to 39% in July.

This month’s survey included several questions about crop farmers’ perspectives on cover crop usage. Nearly-half (45%) of corn/soybean farmers in this month’s survey indicated they currently use cover crops. This compares with responses from 2021 and 2022 barometer surveys, where a range between 41%-57% of respondents reported planting cover crops. Among cover crop users, the two most commonly cited reasons for using cover crops were to improve soil health and erosion control (65% of July respondents), which is in line with prior barometer surveys in 2021 and 2022 when 58%-70% of respondents said they chose soil health and erosion control as their motivation for using cover crops.

Those who indicated using cover crops were also asked to describe their experience. Four out of five (80%) farmers said it improved soil health and yields, while 15% of respondents said cover crops improved soil health but did not improve yields. In prior barometer surveys, a range of 74%-84% of respondents said cover crops improved soil health and yields, while 9%-18% of respondents said it improved soil health but did not improve yields.

Read the full Ag Economy Barometer report at https://purdue.ag/agbarometer. The site also offers additional resources – such as past reports, charts and survey methodology – and a form to sign up for monthly barometer email updates and webinars.

Each month, the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture provides a short video analysis of the barometer results, available at https://purdue.ag/barometervideo. For more information, check out the Purdue Commercial AgCast podcast available at https://purdue.ag/agcast, which includes a detailed breakdown of each month’s barometer and a discussion of recent agricultural news that affects farmers.

The Ag Economy Barometer, Index of Current Conditions and Index of Future Expectations are available on the Bloomberg Terminal under the following ticker symbols: AGECBARO, AGECCURC and AGECFTEX.

 

About the Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture

The Center for Commercial Agriculture was founded in 2011 to provide professional development and educational programs for farmers. Housed within Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural Economics, the center’s faculty and staff develop and execute research and educational programs that address the different needs of managing in today’s business environment.

 

About CME Group

As the world's leading derivatives marketplace, CME Group (www.cmegroup.com) enables clients to trade futures, options, cash and OTC markets, optimize portfolios, and analyze data – empowering market participants worldwide to efficiently manage risk and capture opportunities. CME Group exchanges offer the widest range of global benchmark products across all major asset classes based on interest ratesequity indexesforeign exchangeenergyagricultural products and metals. The company offers futures and options on futures trading through the CME Globex® platform, fixed income trading via BrokerTec and foreign exchange trading on the EBS platform. In addition, it operates one of the world’s leading central counterparty clearing providers, CME Clearing.

CME Group, the Globe logo, CME, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Globex, and, E-mini are trademarks of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc.  CBOT and Chicago Board of Trade are trademarks of Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, Inc.  NYMEX, New York Mercantile Exchange and ClearPort are trademarks of New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc.  COMEX is a trademark of Commodity Exchange, Inc. BrokerTec and EBS are trademarks of BrokerTec Europe LTD and EBS Group LTD, respectively. The S&P 500 Index is a product of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC (“S&P DJI”). “S&P®”, “S&P 500®”, “SPY®”, “SPX®”, US 500 and The 500 are trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC; Dow Jones®, DJIA® and Dow Jones Industrial Average are service and/or trademarks of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. These trademarks have been licensed for use by Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. Futures contracts based on the S&P 500 Index are not sponsored, endorsed, marketed, or promoted by S&P DJI, and S&P DJI makes no representation regarding the advisability of investing in such products. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Comments (0)

This post does not have any comments. Be the first to leave a comment below.


Post A Comment

You must be logged in before you can post a comment. Login now.

Featured Product

Get enhanced vision-powered systems for Auto Farming!

Get enhanced vision-powered systems for Auto Farming!

e-con Systems leads the way in Agriculture Automation, leveraging over 20 years of expertise in OEM camera design, development, and manufacturing. e-con's diverse camera range, featuring advanced capabilities and partnerships with leading sensor technology providers like Sony, onsemi, and OmniVision, is tailored for various smart farming applications such as weed detection, bug identification, crop health monitoring, and harvesting automation. The recent addition of e-con's 20MP camera captures tiny details, enhancing efficiency in crop monitoring and automated machinery guidance. e-con cameras offer versatile interfaces, exceptional low-light performance, expert ISP tuning, multi-camera support, HDR, long-distance capabilities, and customizable features, empowering agriculture automation. e-con specializes in providing AI-ready multi-camera solutions for real-time decision-making. e-con Systems has empowered numerous clients in the smart farming industry to develop and deploy futuristic agricultural systems, including agricultural robots, autonomous tractors, and drones. As NVIDIA's Elite partner, e-con Systems revolutionizes agricultural applications with deep learning algorithms for NVIDIA Jetson kits, expediting time-to-market for customers.