The nation’s producers ended 2022 on a high note as improved financial standing lifted the spirits of farmers and ranchers across the country.

The December Ag Economy Barometer shot up more than 23% after strong declines in two of the last three months (and a relatively flat reading in the one month that didn’t observe a decline). The metric’s overall increase was buoyed by corresponding jumps in measurements of both current and future expectations. Both saw double-digit increases.

“The improvement in current sentiment was motivated by producers’ stronger perception of current financial conditions on their farms and could be attributed to producers taking time to estimate their farms’ 2022 income following the completion of the fall harvest,” said Jim Mintert of Purdue University, which sponsors the barometer along with the CME Group.

The solid expectations are in line with USDA’s projections for 2022 net farm income, which is anticipated to be 13.8% higher than the year prior due largely to high commodity prices offsetting rising input costs.

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But the farm country optimism has yet to impact views on 2023. When surveyed about their expectations for the upcoming year, producers largely relayed expectations of poorer financial performance due to higher costs, narrower margins and rising interest rates.

The results are based on a telephone survey of 400 producers conducted Dec. 5-9, well ahead of the agreement on a year-end spending bill that included additional disaster and climate funding.

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