The March Ag Economy Barometer from Purdue University and the CME Group fell from its 2018 peak of 140 in February to 135. This 5-point drop in sentiment matches January’s reading, still lower than the barometer’s peak of 151 in January 2017.
During the third week of March, the survey was administered to 400 producers, which was after the U.S. imposed steel and aluminum tariffs, but before China responded to them.
Some of the previous surveys have asked questions about agricultural trade and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) On the March survey, there were two questions about producer’s perspectives on trade.
The first was if they think a trade way would significantly reduce the ag exports in the U.S. Close to half of the respondents (47 percent) said a trade war was somewhat likely and would impact ag exports negatively.
The possibility about withdrawing from NAFTA was another question the surveyors asked, and responses were mixed More than one-third of respondents felt neutral about the U.S. withdrawing from the two-decades old agreement.
34 percent expect the U.S. to exit the deal. On Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted, saying the U.S. would withdraw from the deal if Mexico doesn’t keep immigrants from entering in the U.S. from Central America.
Even though producer sentiment drifted lower, attitudes are still more positive than they were during most of 2016. While the idea of a trade was is unsettling, Jim Mintert, director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture, discusses the survey results on AgDay above.