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Trade War and Planting Delays Erode Farmer Confidence

U.S. farmers don’t expect the Sino-U.S. trade war to end soon, and fewer of them expect to be winners when it does, said a Purdue poll released on Tuesday. The monthly Ag Economy Barometer said farmer confidence was the lowest since October 2016, wiping out the “Trump bump” that followed the presidential election.

The Ag Barometer, based on a survey of 400 farmers and ranchers, fell by 32 points in two months, to its current reading of 101. The latest survey was conducted in mid-May, when persistently rainy weather delayed spring planting and after a rupture in trade negotiations but before the administration announced up to $14.5 billion in a trade mitigation payments on 2019 crops and livestock.

Only 20% of participants in the poll said they expected a resolution of soybean trade with China by July 1, down from 28% in April and 45% in March.

And 65% of respondents said they expect the U.S.-China trade dispute will be settled in a beneficial way for agriculture. The figure was 71% in April and 77% in March. In the latest poll, 30% replied “no” to the question, “Do you think the trade dispute with China will ultimately be resolved in a way that benefits U.S. agriculture?”


Purdue said producers were gloomier about the financial outlook. Some 30% say land values will fall in the year ahead and 55% say they expect a decline in equity of their operations in the next 12 months. Asked if they expect good times or bad times financially in the coming year, 73% selected “bad times.”

The Ag Economy Barometer is available here.

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