After the second round of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments and the passing of the 2018 farm bill, the January Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer results show producers are more optimistic about the agricultural economy but still have concerns regarding farmland values. Based on 400 survey responses, the results show the highest barometer reading since June 2018. Increases in the survey were seen in the Large Farm Investment Index. This measurement examines how producers feel about investing in farm investments like machinery or buildings. The report showed the index increasing by 11 points since December and increasing 20 points from September, showing producers are slowly growing more interested in making those large investments. Farmland values, however, saw the opposite effect. According to the survey, the percentage expecting higher farmland values over the next 12 months decreased from 17 to 13 percent in December. Farmers were also asked to look ahead 5 years. The number of producers who expected higher farmland values dropped two points to 48 percent. Taking a look at farmers' planting intentions for 2019, two-thirds of respondents said their soybean acreage will be the same as in 2018, but 25 percent of soybean producers said they intend to reduce their soybean acreage in 2019 compared to last year. Forty-three percent of soybean farmers expect November 2019 soybean futures to fall below $8.50 in the next months leading to summer.
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