The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose slightly in the month of June, coming in at an index of 143, two points higher than May. Ag producers’ sentiment rose slightly in spite of economic challenges like retaliatory tariffs from American trading partners. This month’s slight rise in the index was surprising given a collapse in prices for some of the key agricultural commodities.
For example, corn, soybeans, and wheat prices peaked in May before dropping somewhat in early June. Prices tumbled in mid-June when it became apparent that the trade war with China would not be resolved before tariffs kicked in. The small rise in sentiment masks a larger fear among producers about the uncertainty of future conditions. Producers are less optimistic, shown by the number of respondents who expect good times in the year ahead dropping from 32 percent in May to 26 percent in June. When farmers were asked about future growth opportunities in their operations, most respondents don’t expect to increase the acreage on their farms over the next 12 months.