Latest Ag Economy Barometer Shows Slight Improvement

Farmer sentiment improved modestly in December. The CME Group/Purdue University index, released Tuesday, rose to a reading of 174, up seven points from November. December’s sentiment improvement still left the barometer nine points lower than in October. The Index of Current Conditions climbed 15 points to 202, while the Index of Future Expectations increased by just five points to 161.

Organizers say the farm income boost provided by the ongoing rally in crop prices appears to be the driving force behind the improvement. However, comparing survey results from before the November election to the post-election time frame, there continues to be less optimism following the election.

Farmers note concerns about future ag exports and more worries about increasing environmental regulations and prospects for higher taxes. Additionally, the number of farmers concerned that the farm income safety net will weaken remained higher post-election, as did the percentage of farmers expecting government support for the ethanol industry to decline.

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