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Farmers More Confident in Own Farms than Overall Farm Economy

00:00AM Oct 01, 2008

Greg Vincent, Top Producer Editor
A tracking survey of Top Producer and Farm Journal Media subscribers shows farmers are starting to feel apprehension over sliding commodity prices. While they see this as a problem for the general farm economy, the prospects for the individual farmers seems to be improving slightly.
For the past three months, Farm Journal Media has conducted a poll of its readers and asking them if how positive their outlook is for the farm economy in general and on their own farms. Through July and August, 54% of the surveyed farmers hold a positive view of farm economy's financial health, but that slipped to 39% in September. Conversely, 38% held a generally negative view of the farm economy in September, up from 32% and 29% in July and August, respectively.
While the views of the overall farm economy are worsening, farmers still feel relatively positive about their own fortunes with July, August and September numbers falling in at 68%, 64% and 67% maintaining a positive view of their own farm's financial health. The number holding a negative view of their own farm's finances has fallen from 19% in July to 13% in September.
Farmer Testimony
A Wisconsin grower, who participated in the survey, said: Farmers in my area went from highly optimistic to down in eight months. We had bad flooding and then no rain in August, a bad mix.
Yields will be average to wee below average depending where the fields lay and soils. Not many are optimistic now, inputs and risk next year are really stressful. Losses could be huge if crops are not insured and we have another weather event. Time will tell, many will plant less corn if prices stay where they are on both the input and selling price.  
How optimistic are you about the farm economy compared to Gallup consumer confidence polls
Gallup - Positive
6% 16% 14%
Gallup - Negative
77% 73% 78%
General Farm Eco Positive
54% 54% 39%
General Farm Eco Negative
32% 29% 38%
Own Farm Positive
68% 64% 67%
Own Farm Negative
19% 18% 13%
*Average July Gallup numbers, Farm responses from July 2 thru 10; Farm Journal Media Database
** Early September Gallup numbers, Farm responses mid August thru very early Sept, Farm Journal Readers
***September 18th for Gallup; Farm Sept 11th thru Sept 23rd; and responses all from Top Producer readers growing crops

You can e-mail Greg Vincent at


This article appeared in the recent issue of Top Producer's Moneywise eNewsletter. To sign up for a free subscription, click here.