About the Ag Economy Barometer
The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer is a nationwide measure of the health of the U.S. agricultural economy. On the first Tuesday of each month, the Ag Economy Barometer provides a sense of the agricultural economy’s health with an index value. The index is based on a survey of 400 agricultural producers on economic sentiment each month. Quarterly, the index is accompanied by an in-depth survey of 100 agriculture and agribusiness thought leaders.
As CME Group’s roots are in agriculture, and Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture has a long history of producing cutting-edge agricultural research, this partnership is designed to create a new and important tool for producers, economists, traders, finance industry professionals and journalists who are interested in understanding the agriculture industry and the broader global economy.
The Ag Economy Barometer plummeted in March, dipping 47 points (28%) from a month earlier to a reading of 121. The point drop was the largest one-month fall in the life of the index, which dates to October 2015.Read the Full Report
The Ag Economy Barometer rose slightly with a reading of 168 in February, just one point higher than January. The one-point rise in the sentiment index was enough to push the barometer to a new all-time high.Read the Full Report
The Ag Economy Barometer rose to a reading of 167 in January, a 17-point jump from December when the index stood at 150. Virtually all of the rise in this month’s barometer was attributable to a sharp rise in optimism about future conditions in agriculture.Read the Full Report
Federal forecasters estimate that U.S. farm incomes will fall this year to the lowest level since 2002, reflecting a continued slump in prices for crops and livestock. Net farm income will drop 3% to $54.8 billion from $56.4 billion last year, the Agriculture Department projected Tuesday. It would mark the third consecutive year of falling agricultural incomes after profits surged to a record $123 billion in 2013—the height of a boom…
Levels of non-real estate farm lending at commercial banks remained high in the fourth quarter of 2015 despite a modest decline from a year earlier. Loans used to finance current operating expenses remained at record levels, while volumes for most other types of non-real estate loans declined slightly. As farm income declined again in 2015, persistently high short-term lending needs amplified concerns about farm sector liquidity moving into 2016, especially if farmers’ profit margins remain low. Despite these concerns, agricultural banks continued to report strong loan performance and solid returns on their assets.
A quarterly newsletter on agricultural land values and credit conditions, based on data from the Bank’s survey.
The outlook for the pork industry has turned somewhat more optimistic in recent weeks. The sources of that optimism include a $2 to $4 increase in spring and summer lean hog futures prices since the first of the year and slightly lower new-crop soybean meal prices. A bit higher hog prices and a little lower cost add to the potential for a profitable year.