One of the leading indicators on how farmers and ranchers feel about the economy continues to climb.
Purdue University and the CME Group have released their monthly Ag Economy Barometer. The outlook gauges how producers feel about the state of the economy and where it’s going.
After record-high sentiment in December following the election, producers broke records in January. The barometer reached 153, a 21-point jump from last month.
Since data collection began in October 2015, that is the biggest month-over-month change.
Purdue’s report shows that the positive perceptions are tempered by some respondents who say their farm financial conditions are worse than 2016.
“A large percentage of the respondents to our survey are still indicating their financial condition is still precarious,” said Jim Mintert of the Center for Commercial Agriculture at Purdue University. “They are concerned about the future, not only in the near term, but looking ahead five years. Even though there’s been an improvement of optimism among producers, we’re still in a challenging economic environment for production agriculture.”
Mintert says one reason farmers are more optimistic is because they expect a less restrictive regulatory environment. 41 percent believe government regulations will be less burdensome in the next five years.
The barometer is based on survey results from 400 producers.