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Ag Economy Barometer Sets Record High In Farmer Sentiment

Courtesy of Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture

A measure of farmers' optimism hit its highest level last month since the survey began in 2015. The new record for the Ag Economy Barometer reflects a number of positive changes that have taken place in the agriculture industry recently.

The October responses show the barometer fully rebounding and surpassing the previous record. That record was set in February just before the COVID-19 pandemic spurred stay-at-home orders and challenges in the supply chains for the ag industry.

Barometer co-author Jim Mintert said several factors have helped improve the short-term and long-term outlook for farmers, including a rally in corn and soybean prices, expected record yields, additional federal aid and increased exports to China.

"And if you put that all together, and it's really changed the farm income projection picture for 2020 compared to what we were looking at back in June and early July," said Mintert.

About 60 percent of those that participated in the national survey believe China will fulfill Phase 1 of the trade deal with the U.S. by purchasing more American corn and soybeans.

Mintert said the recent international demand that started this summer has helped drive up commodity prices.

"And historically when you see demand recoveries they tend to be longer lasting and have a longer term influence," he said. "So for U.S. ag and Indiana ag, that's a positive thing."

While only 25 percent of the 400 respondents said their farm is financially better off now than a year ago, it is the highest number recorded since the survey's creation.