Producer Sentiment Dips in February

U.S. farmers are less optimistic about current economic conditions than they were at the start of the year, according to The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer.

In February, the barometer, which is based on a survey of 400 U.S. producers, declined to 136 from 143 in January.

The Index of Current Conditions saw the biggest drop, down from 132 to 119. The Index of Future Expectations dipped from 148 to 145.

The January survey enjoyed a bump in optimism, perhaps tied to news that the federal government was issuing payments through the Market Facilitation Program.

Volatility continued in producers’ perspectives on whether now is a good time to make large farm investments. From January through June last year, the Large Farm Investment index averaged a reading of 65. Since then, the index has averaged 53 points. In February, it fell to 50.

In February, when asked what type of risk was most critical to their farming operation, producers overwhelmingly chose marketing risk (56 percent) over financial (27 percent) and production (17 percent) risk.