Last year at Commodity Classic, farmer attitudes were not good and the economic outlook was worse. While 2018 has not seen a dramatic recovery, Jim Mintert with the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture says there are signs that things are getting better, “We have seen an improvement in people’s perspective on the financial condition of their farming operation. Not to say things are great, they are not. But farmers are telling us things are improving.” Mintert measures farmers’ attitudes each month with a financial barometer survey.
In Purdue’s annual economic outlook program at Classic, Mintert said financial situation has improved for many Indiana growers, “We are seeing land values stabilize and even begin to improve. In addition, we are seeing a slight decline in the world stocks of corn.” He added there is a chance we could see some dramatic market developments this summer, especially if there are any supply concerns.
There are still many factors that could make this year very volatile, from crop production to interest rates to trade policy. As a result, Mintert urged growers to stay flexible and regularly update their balance sheets, “This is something they should do every quarter to estimate their yields and income for the year. This was the real take away message from our presentation. It will them the chance to make decisions and remain financially solid.”
Mintert said higher than trendline yields for the past 6 years have helped many operations stay afloat, yet he worries a decline in yields in 2018 could cause major financial problems for many growers.