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Farmers Expect to Win Sino-U.S. Trade War

U.S. and Chinese officials are scheduled to open a new round of ministerial-level negotiations on Thursday to resolve the trade war, and American farmers believe their sector will be a winner in the end. By a 3-to-1 ratio, producers polled for Purdue’s monthly Ag Economy Barometer said they expect the dispute, which has stunted agriculture exports, will be resolved in a way that benefits U.S. producers.

A sizable portion of respondents – 45% – said a settlement with China was likely before July 1, according to results released by Purdue on Tuesday. Producers were ebullient, too, about prospects for exports, a key source of farm revenue.

Some 68% said they expect farm exports to increase over the next five years, “the most optimistic perspective on ag exports since we first posed this question in May 2017,” said economists James Mintert and Michael Langemeier in summarizing the poll results. Purdue surveys 400 producers each month to produce its gauge of farmer sentiment.

Roughly six of 10 producers said they expect their farm’s financial performance this year to be the same as in 2018; 21% expected better performance and 20% expected worse.

Some 22% of respondents said they operating debt was likely to increase this year. When asked why, 21% – equal to 5% of all farmers – said they were unable to retire operating debts from previous years. “These results were similar to what we observed when we posed the same question in January,” said Mintert and Langemeier, concluding that a small portion of farms “are under some degree of financial stress.”

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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