A measurement of producer optimism set a record in February, eclipsing the old record set only one month earlier, but a survey to determine that measurement occurred before some key events last month.

The Ag Economy Barometer — jointly maintained by Purdue University and the CME Group — jumped one point higher on “an improvement in producer’s perceptions of current conditions, which offset a small decline in expectations for the future,” according to a release. The index of future conditions dropped four points in the new report while the index of current conditions jumped 12 points, pushing the current barometer to a reading of 168.

The survey for the February reading was conducted Feb. 10-14, the week before USDA’s Ag Outlook Forum released numbers that dumped cold water on trade expectations for China. The “phase one” trade deal calls for China to import $40 billion in U.S. ag goods in each of the next two years, but USDA projected only $14 billion in imports for the fiscal year.

The survey also came in advance of a Feb. 21 tweet from President Donald Trump indicating producers could receive more trade assistance if they were to need it. The week before, about 45% of farmers said they were expecting another Market Facilitation Program payment in 2020.

The release accompanying the February barometer also said “some concerns existed about the possible impact of the” coronavirus on global ag trade, but “producers remained relatively optimistic about the resumption of trade with China.”

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