Barometer: farmer sentiment is down amid COVID-19 pandemic
Farmer sentiment fell below 100 in the latest Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. A rating below 100 indicates negative sentiment about the ag economy.
Jim Mintert, director of the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture, says the decline is due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“If you look at what’s taking place with respect to commodity prices and the uncertainty people in the livestock sector are facing, it’s not really a surprise,” he says.
He says farmers surveyed were pessimistic about declines in commodity prices.
“From March 2nd through April 24th, July corn futures went down 15 percent, July soybean futures went down 8 percent, June lean hog futures went down 33 percent, and June live cattle futures went down 21 percent,” he says.
Farmers surveyed also expressed concern about the impact of the coronavirus on their farming operations.
“Forty-two percent of farmers surveyed said market access was their number one concern regarding their farm and COVID-19,” he says. “Their number two concern was financial at 27 percent, health and safety came in lower at 13 percent, but 35 percent said they were already making changes on their operation because of COVID-19.”
The barometer fell 25 points in April to a reading of 96. This marks the first time the barometer has fallen below 100 since October 2016, wiping out the improvement in farmer sentiment that took place after the 2016 election.
The Index of Current Conditions declined 39 points to a reading of 72 and the Index of Future Expectations fell to 108.
The monthly survey of 400 US agricultural producers was conducted April 19-24.