Ag Barometer: Farmers Are Optimistic About Crop Prices, Farmland, COVID Vaccine

Ag Barometer in January
Ag Barometer in January
(Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture)

The most recent Ag Economy Barometer offers a mixed bag of perspectives from U.S. farmers who were surveyed in late January.

On one hand, the barometer shows some farmer optimism, thanks to the ongoing rally in crop prices. On the other hand, concerns about government policies and their potential impact on the future of trade are tempering that optimism, says Jim Mintert.

“Farmers are also concerned about the environmental regulatory aspect; they’re worried about having a more restrictive regulatory environment,” Mintert told Agri-Talk Host, Chip Flory, on Wednesday. “And it’s the same with state taxes, with income taxes.”

Overall, the barometer drifted lower in January to a reading of 167, a decline of 7 points compared to December and equal to the index’s November reading. Even so, the barometer shows areas of farmer optimism, including decisions to make capital improvement investments and a positive outlook for farmland values.

“When asked what they expect to happen in the upcoming 12 months, 43 percent of respondents, up from 35 percent in December, said they expect farmland values to rise. This is by far and away the most optimistic short-run perspective farmers have provided regarding farmland values during the life of the barometer survey,” the barometer reports. landprices

A new question. In the January survey, Mintert included questions about sequestering carbon now that several firms are offering farmer contracts.

“Thirty percent of the people in the survey said, ‘Yeah, we're aware of some opportunities.’ So that was, if anything, maybe a little surprising,” Mintert says.  

Of that group, 22% said they have engaged in some discussions about receiving a carbon capture payment.

“We didn't define what the word discussions means,” Mintert says. “So, we don't know if that really meant negotiations with a firm, or if it meant more like internal discussions on the farm. We're going to do some follow up and future surveys and try and learn a little bit more on that and what farmers might want to do.”

Vaccination outlook. The January barometer also explored farmers’ interest in the taking one of the COVID-19 vaccinations that are available, showing that sentiment is changing over time. “In October, the barometer showed that just 24 percent of respondents planned to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” the barometer reports. “Responses to the January survey, conducted after nationwide vaccinations got underway, indicated farmers are now much more willing to get vaccinated as 58 percent of respondents said they plan to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Covid Vaccination

Mintert and Michael Langemeier, Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture, manage the barometer survey and write the monthly report. The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. The January survey was conducted Jan.18-22, 2021.

The full discussion on Agri-Talk is available here:


Latest News

How Important is U.S. Ag and Food to the Economy?

In celebration of National Ag Day and National Ag Week, the 2023 Feeding the Economy report shows just how vital the industry is to U.S. families, communities and the world.

Ferrie: Ready, Set, Whoops! A Fast Start To Fieldwork Could Cost You Big In Corn At V5

Caution can help you avoid creating compaction or density layers. Plus, if you're applying anhydrous now, allowing 14 days between the application and planting can prevent dead or damaged plants and costly yield dings.

Nebraska Farmland Values Jump 14% in 2023 — Up 30% in Two Years

This year marks the second-largest increase in the market value of agricultural land in Nebraska since 2014 and the highest non-inflation-adjusted statewide land value in the 45-year history of the survey. 

U.S. Milk Production and Cow Numbers Both Rise

The February 2023 USDA Milk Production report showed an 0.8% increase in year-over-year milk production with a total of 17.7 billion lbs. of milk. Also following suit, U.S. cow numbers also documented growth.

Crude Oil Prices Drop Below $70: What is the Outlook for Consumers at the Pump and Farmers Heading Into Spring Planting?

Oil prices are also off their highs of last year and gas and diesel prices are also sliding at the pump, but will that trend continue ahead of planting?   Energy experts are hoping the answer is yes.  

Can the $20-Billion Inflation Reduction Act Get Rolled Out Quickly Enough?

Industry experts say the new legislative package represents a 'generational opportunity' for conservation funding and needs to reach U.S. farmers and livestock producers sooner rather than later, starting this spring.