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Survey: Farmers’ outlook improves, but higher input costs loom as major concern

U.S. commodity growers are feeling a little better about their prospects for the coming year than they were last month, but a number of major concerns persist and overall farmer sentiment remains far gloomier than a year ago, according to the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer for August.

While more than half of survey respondents (53%) said their biggest concern for the coming year was rising input costs, significant numbers said they were also worried about rising interest rates (14%), input availability (12%), and lower output prices (11%). The impact of inflation on their family’s expenditures in the year ahead was also a major concern.

“[T]here was a noticeable shift this month from producers expecting worse to better financial performance for their farms in 2022,” the survey report said. “Both corn and soybean prices rallied from their July lows into mid-August, which, along with expectations for good yields, helped explain some of the improvement in financial performance expectations.”

The August survey showed a slight rise in the number of farmers in talks with companies offering payments for sequestering carbon. “However, just 1 percent of respondents … said they’ve signed a carbon contract,” and most of those who chose not to sign said it was because the payment rates being offered are still too low.

The Ag Economy Barometer index is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted from Aug. 15-19.

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