Farmer Pessimism Hits Historic Level

With everything going on right now, it’s probably not surprising that farmers aren’t optimistic. DTN found that farmer attitudes have hit historic lows because of poor commodity prices and falling economic conditions due to COVID-19. The DTN Agriculture Confidence Index dropped a staggering 97 points from December 2019, with the index currently at 67. It’s a 43-point drop from the spring of 2019. The previous record-low index level was 71.9 in August of 2016, as falling crop prices hit during a divisive presidential election.

In the latest survey, record or near-record pessimism was found across the entire agricultural spectrum, and it didn’t matter what crops farmers were growing, what they’re income level was, or where they were located. Numbers above 100 indicate optimism, while numbers below 100 show pessimism.

The current survey produced a current expectation score of 55, with a future expectation index at a still-pessimistic 73. DTN said it is significant that the record lows come during a spring survey as optimism tends to be at its highest as farmers get ready to plant.

Midwest farmers showed the most pessimism for current conditions, yet they also showed the most optimism for the future.

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