Farmers’ outlook improved last month despite lingering concerns about high input prices and prospects for weaker prices in 2023, according to the monthly Purdue-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer.

The index rose 14 points to 131 in August but remained well below its level a year earlier. The index is based on a survey that was conducted Aug. 15-19, after USDA released its closely watched Crop Production report and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Separate measures of farmer attitudes toward current conditions and their future expectations both increased in August.

"Producers this month were less worried about their farm’s financial situation than in July, although they remain concerned about a possible cost/price squeeze,” according to a summary of the survey.

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Some 53% of the farmers who were surveyed said higher input costs were their biggest concern heading into 2023. More than half the producers said they expect crop input prices to increase by as much as 20% in 2023. About four in 10 producers expect inputs to stay the same or decline by as much as 10%.

USDA forecasts that net cash farm income will reach its highest level in a decade this year, although producers in some sectors are going to do much better than in others, due in part to increases in input costs. Net cash farm income is forecast at $168.5 billion in 2022, an increase of 15.1% over 2021. 

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