Producer optimism increased in May, according to a survey conducted the same week USDA released details about the $16 billion in direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

The Ag Economy Barometer — a joint effort by Purdue University and the CME Group to understand producer sentiment — displayed a reading of 103, up 11 points from April.

“In May, farmers were also somewhat more inclined to think now is a good time to make large investments in their farming operations,” according to a release.

Of the 400 producers interviewed, 34% indicated that they were “very worried” about the impact of COVID-19 on their farms' profitability and 37% said they were “fairly worried.” However, 42% of the producers surveyed stated that their biggest concerns were “market access,” with 39% saying they had “financial” concerns.

Over 60% of respondents believe that farmers’ equity positions will fall and over 25% said they plan to ask their landlords to lower their cash rental payments in 2021. The release states that this could “lead to downward pressure on cash rental rates next year.”

Two-thirds of producers believe that it will be “necessary” for Congress to pass another economic assistance bill.

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