A study from Purdue University says agriculture producer sentiment has dropped to its lowest level since October 2016. The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, which surveys 400 ag producers nationwide each month, says farmers’ concerns on both current and future economic conditions have "worsened considerably."
The barometer reading for May dropped 14 points from the previous month to 101, which James Mintert, director of the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture and the principal investigator for the barometer, says is part of an ongoing trend in farmer sentiment.
"Ag producers are telling us the agricultural economy weakened considerably this spring as the barometer has fallen 42 points (29%) since the start of this year," Mintert said. "Farmers are facing tough decisions in the midst of a wet planting season and a lot of uncertainty surrounding trade discussions."
The study says agricultural trade continues to be a major source of concern for farmers. Over the past three months, producers were asked whether they expect the soybean trade dispute with China to be resolved by July and whether they believe a resolution will benefit agriculture in the U.S.
In March, 45 percent of respondents said they expect the dispute to be resolved in July. That number fell to 28 percent in April and 20 percent in May. Answering the question of expecting a favorable outcome, 77 percent said "yes" in March, which fell to 71 percent in April and 65 percent in May.
"At this time, a majority of producers still expect a favorable outcome for agriculture to the trade dispute but that majority appears to be shrinking," said Mintert.
You can read the full May Ag Economy Barometer by clicking here.