As farmers move through harvest it appears they feel more upbeat about the overall agricultural economy, but there’s still some concern about trade agreements. That’s the overall message from the October reading of the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer.
The monthly survey of 400 farmers nationwide ticked 15 points higher from last month’s mark to a reading of 136.
“Almost across the board, farmers were more optimistic about the agricultural economy in October,” said James Mintert, director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. “While the level of optimism among farmers is higher than earlier this year, the survey uncovered additional uncertainty related to trade agreements that are still being negotiated.”
Farmers were asked about the importance of trade agreements to the U.S. agricultural economy. When asked about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, 96 percent of producers said it was either important or very important.
USMCA is still awaiting approval by Congress and only 55 percent of farmers expect the trade agreement to get ratified any time soon.
A trade deal with Japan, announced last month, is also resonating positively with farmers with 97 percent saying it’s important or very important to U.S. ag.
Meanwhile, farmers are growing less optimistic a resolution will happen soon in the trade dispute with China. The barometer measured 51 percent of respondents think an imminent resolution is unlikely, down from 59 percent in September and 71 percent in August.
Still, 75 percent of those surveyed feel the outcome will be beneficial to American ag producers.
Click here to watch a video review of the Ag Barometer from Purdue’s Jim Mintert.