Farmer sentiment in July was virtually unchanged from a month earlier as the Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose just one point to 118.
The July reading was 30 percent below its February peak and 23 percent below its level a year ago.
The latest survey saw a shift in producers’ perspective on current vs. future conditions. The Index of Current Conditions rose 12 points to 111 while the Index of Future Expectations fell to 121, five points lower than in June.
Fifty-six percent of farmers say they plan to reduce their farm machinery purchases compared to a year ago, which was unchanged from June and nine points lower than May. The percentage of farmers who plan to keep machinery purchases about the same as last year was 38 percent, also unchanged from June and seven points higher than in May.
Consistent with farmers’ perspective on farm machinery purchases, the Farm Capital Investment Index, with a reading of 60, was unchanged from June.
On June and July surveys, four out of 10 respondents said they are conducting more business online as a result of COVID-19.
In those same two months, 53 percent of farmers said they were less likely to attend in-person educational programs as a result of COVID-19. In identifying alternatives to those in-person events, farmers offered varying feedback on how they are consuming information today and how they anticipate consuming information moving forward. Current preferences are:
- Farm magazines (24 percent)
- Farm radio broadcasts (17 percent)
- Email (16 percent)
- Websites (16 percent)
- Webinars (15 percent)
- Podcasts (12 percent)
In looking ahead, farmers expect information consumption to shift:
- Farm magazines (36 percent)
- Webinars (19 percent)
- Farm radio (17 percent)
- Websites (17 percent)
- Email (8 percent)
- Podcasts (3 percent)