Farmer and rancher opinion of the ag economy took a less optimistic turn in December, a new report shows. The Purdue University and CME Group Ag Economy Barometer dipped for the second straight month. Trade concerns played a major role in the declining sentiment; 59 percent of producers expect an increase in ag exports over the next five years – a 7 point drop from November – and 26 percent expect to see a decrease over the same time period – a 10 percent increase from the previous survey. James Mintert, director of Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture and the principal investigator for the barometer project, said producer sentiment on current conditions “has declined markedly” over the last year, but “their expectations for future economic conditions have held steady. As a result of this mixed view, farmers appear to be cautious about making large investments in their farming operations.” An indicator of whether or not producers feel comfortable making large commercial investments fell 5 points month-to-month, down 29 points from this time a year ago. Only 42 percent of respondents say now is a good time to bring a new generation of family into the business.
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