The latest DTN-The Progressive Farmer Agriculture Confidence Index shows farmers are less optimistic about the ag economy as lower crop prices meet higher input costs. DTN surveyed 500 farmers and ranchers across the U.S. from December 3rd to December 13th. Caledonia Solutions designed the survey – and owner Robert Hill says crop producers seem to see input prices as unfavorable and their current farm income is taking a hit. Hill says this most likely is due to high cash rentals and increased costs per acre to control weeds. In this survey – farmers are asked to assess input prices and net farm incomes – as well as what they expect input prices and income to be like in 12-months. Those assessments are turned into the overall index value, present situation index and expectations index.
Currently – farmers rate their present situation at 120.7 – which is down from last year’s 137.2. While still pessimistic about the future – that pessimism is a little lower than last year’s at 93.6 instead of 90.5. Regarding income – producers have said it’s shifted from good to normal. Only 23.4-percent of producers think current input prices are good – 45-percent say prices are normal – and 31-percent consider them bad. Looking ahead to next year – 42-percent see input prices staying the same – and 38-percent see input prices getting worse. Only 18-percent think they could improve. Overall – the index value for crop producers is 104.3 – but in the Midwest – it’s 103.4. The index for livestock producers is 107.7. Southwest producers are more optimistic this year with their index at 110.6 – and their expectations index is 102.