The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer climbed 12 points to 177 in March, marking the highest reading for the barometer since it registered a record-high of 184 in October. Last month’s rise was almost entirely driven by producers’ more optimistic view toward the future. The index of future expectations shot 16 points higher to 164; the index of current expectations edged two points higher to a record 202 points, but that index has held around the 200-point level for four months. “Strong ag commodity prices and improved farm financial conditions continue to support the Ag Economy Barometer readings as we head into spring,” the related report said.
On AgriTalk yesterday, Dr. James Mintert of Purdue University commented that optimism may have been bolstered to some degree by the release of a bullish Quarterly Hogs & Pigs report the same week the telephone survey was conducted.
Interestingly, producers’ optimism about trade with China is fading. “The percentage of producers who expect the U.S. trade dispute with China to ultimately be resolved in a way that’s beneficial to U.S. agriculture peaked in early 2020 at 81%. That percentage has been declining since that time and fell again this month to just 31%, down 7 points from February,” the report noted.