According to the newest Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, the rise in producer confidence that began after the elections last November has continued into the month of January. The monthly survey index was at 153 in January, a 21-point jump over the previous month and 61 points above October.
The January index of 153 is the most optimistic producer outlook since the survey began in October of 2015. Producers’ future expectations are the biggest driver behind the jump in optimism. The Index of Future Expectations as well as the Index of Current Expectations both surged higher than the December numbers. However, the improvement in producer perception of current economic conditions was tempered by 58 percent of respondents saying their farms were in worse economic shape than at the same time last year.
Looking ahead to the next 12 months, the rise in optimism since last October is noticeable. Back in October, only 17 percent of producers expected things to improve over the next year. As of last month, 39 percent of producers expect things to get better economically over the next 12 months. One of the other big drivers in optimism is less expected impact from government regulations.