Farmers’ perceptions of economic conditions improved in November, according to the monthly Ag Economy Barometer. While yields are down it’s still a better harvest than many feared.
The United States Department of Agriculture projects crop production in Indiana to be down about twenty percent from last year for corn and soybeans. Both are even lower than the national totals in the two commodities this harvest season.
While farmers likely saw yields below last year’s numbers, national survey co-author Jim Mintert says farmer sentiment was up to one of its highest levels.
“If you go back to the summer, we were planting crops very late,” says Mintert. “A lot of farmers were very uncertain about what was going to happen in terms of yield and production levels, especially here in the central and eastern part of the corn belt turned out better than expected and that’s reflected in the USDA’s numbers as well.”
The barometer also showed a jump in the number of farmers saying they are considering capital investments to their farms – the value was the highest of the year.
Mintert says while there are positive feelings in the ag economy, it doesn’t necessarily mean farmers will be making big purchases.
“The fact that you think now is potentially a good time to make investments doesn’t always mean you’re going to run out and make those investments,” he says. “But it [does] mean you are more open to thinking of making investments, and so I think that’s what the response was that we picked up on in the survey.”
For the first time, a majority of farmers in the survey say they believe the trade dispute with China will be settled soon. Most respondents say the trade deal will favor U.S. agriculture.
The monthly survey is conducted by Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture and asks farmers across the country about their views on agricultural topics.