Pessimism increases among U.S. farmers

Farmers became much more pessimistic about current conditions on their own farms and in the U.S. agricultural economy in late summer, according to the September Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. While the overall Ag Economy Barometer reading dipped slightly to a reading of 121, down three points from August, the Index of Current Conditions, a sub-index of the barometer, dropped 22 points to a reading of 100. The barometer is based on a mid-month survey of 400 agricultural producers across the United States.

Farmers’ outlook toward making large investments such as machinery or buildings also declined in September. The Farm Capital Investment Index dropped for the second month in a row, down nine points from August, which left it 20 points below the July 2019 reading taken when corn and soybean prices were peaking. Producers’ farmland value expectations for both the next 12 months and 5 years also drifted lower in September.