Survey: Farmers positive about present, pessimistic about future
Though farmers are coming off a banner year for profits, few expect the good times to continue to roll, according to the latest measure of the Agriculture Confidence Index by DTN/The Progressive Farmer.
They remain cautiously optimistic, with an overall survey value of 108.5, but show great divides when asked about their present situation and their expectations for the future. Farmers assess their present situation at a strongly positive value of 140.2, while expectations for the next 12 months notch a pessimistic low at 87.4.
A survey value of 100 is considered neutral, so the wide gulf between the positive present (at 140.2) and the pessimistic future (at 87.4) stands out.
Generally high input and land prices have many farmers skeptical about the future of their profits, according to the survey.
The survey asks producers questions that include an assessment of current input prices and whether or not they'll be better, the same or worse in the year ahead. Responses varied on whether today's input prices were good or bad, but 88.3% think prices will be the same or worse 12 months from now.
The general survey results held true in the varied agricultural regions throughout the country. That’s striking because of the different crops and livestock raised in each region. The Midwest’s overall index was measured at 109.3.
DTN conducts the survey three times annually. In December’s survey, farmers were similarly bullish about the present and doubtful about the future.