Farmers’ Moods Remain Positive

The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose 12 points in March to a reading of 177, marking the highest reading for the barometer since October.

The rise was attributed to producers’ more optimistic view of the future. The Index of Future Expectations snapped a four-month decline, rising 16 points to a reading of 164 in March. The Index of Current Conditions tied its previous all-time high, rising 2 points to a reading of 202.

In March, producers continued to be relatively optimistic about making farm machinery purchases and capital investments in their farming operations. The Farm Capital Investment Index held at a reading of 88, just 5 points below its all-time high of 93. Since March 2020, when farmers’ confidence in the agricultural economy plummeted, the investment index has risen 63 percent.

The index has seen remarkable improvement to a question about whether farmers expect their farm’s financial performance to be better than, worse than, or about the same as last year. In April 2020, the index that measures that question hit an all-time low of 55; since that time, the index has increased by 127 percent to a record high of 125 in March.

The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted March 22-26.