February’s Ag Economy Barometer reading of 165 changed little compared to January when the index stood at 167. Announced Tuesday, producers continue to report strong current conditions on their farms as February’s Current Conditions Index value of 200 is near its all-time high. Continuing a trend that got underway last fall, however, the Index of Future Expectations drifted lower to 148, three points below its January reading. February marked the third time in the last four months that the Future Expectations Index declined, leaving it 20 percent below its October peak. Ongoing strength in ag commodity prices and farm income continue to support producers’ perspective on current conditions.
Concerns about possible policy changes affecting agriculture and eroding confidence in future growth in ag trade continue to weigh on producers’ future expectations. Producers also indicated they expect to see alternative protein sources increase market share in the years ahead. If the market share becomes significant, they think it’s likely to reduce aggregate farm income.