Farmers Pessimistic Despite Slightly Improved Conditions

USA Today writer Christopher Doering reported today that, “U.S. farmers and ranchers are experiencing improving conditions in agriculture but many are not optimistic the changes will significantly help them soon, according to a new survey released Tuesday by Purdue University and futures market operator CME Group.

“The Ag Economy Barometer, a nationwide measure of the health of U.S. agriculture, rose 21 points in April to 106, as higher prices for corn, soybeans and wheat and good weather for crop plantings boosted producer sentiment. Still, 76 percent of the 400 respondents expected the next 12 months to be challenging financially despite the improvement.

“A prolonged slump in commodity prices has squeezed farm income, forcing some producers to cut back on spending or turn to their banks for help. Seed and farm equipment makers, including DuPont Co., the parent of Johnston-based DuPont Pioneer, and Deere & Co. have announced job cuts and falling profits.”

Today’s article added that, “‘From a crop farmer’s perspective, things do look significantly better than they did in late winter, and I think that’s being reflected in our survey,’ said Jim Mintert, director of Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture and lead investigator for the barometer. ‘The real question is, is that going to be a longer-term scenario or is that a short-term phenomenon?‘”

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