Producers are increasingly worried about supplies of key inputs for the upcoming growing season, pushing a measure of farmer sentiment to the lowest point since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ag Economy Barometer dropped about 10% in March, 36% below the same month in 2021. The indicator maintained monthly by Purdue University and the CME Group reflected several factors weighing on the minds of the 400 producers surveyed in mid-March, but chief among them was the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Concern about the war's impact on input prices and input availability on their farming operations was paramount in the minds of producers responding to the March survey and was a major factor in this month's decline in sentiment,” said James Mintert, director of Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

The drop in sentiment was reflected in indices for both the future and current circumstances. Both indices dropped in the most recent monthly survey.

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“When producers think about how their farm will fare financially in 2022, it's clear they do not expect commodity price strength to offset the dramatic rise in farm production costs they are experiencing,” Mintert said.

The concerns about the future financial situation were also reflected in a pair of questions about future investment plans. Some 62% of producers said their plans for machinery purchases were lower than a year ago; half the respondents offered a similar response one month ago. 

About 57% of producers said they expect input prices to rise by more than 20%, while 36% have an even more pessimistic view and expect prices to rise by 30% or more.

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