Farmers Say Input Prices are Chief Economic Concern

The Purdue University Ag Economy Barometer was started in 2015. It’s a monthly survey of 400 different farmers every month. Dr. James Mintert of Purdue says the most recent survey showed a slight improvement in producer sentiment.

“If you look at the most recent survey, which we did in mid-October, it suggested that there was a modest improvement, really a very small improvement, in farmer sentiment. If you look at it from kind of a longer-term view, farmers’ sentiment right now is quite a bit lower than it was in late 2020 or early 2021, and down somewhat compared to a year ago. And that’s true whether you look at the broader index, which is the ag economy barometer itself, or the sub-indices, the current condition index, or the future expectation index.”

Mintert talks about producers’ chief concerns.

“There’s some concern out there. We asked producers every month in 2023 what their biggest concern is for the upcoming year, and their biggest concern month after month continues to be high input prices. This month, roughly twice as many people chose high input prices as their top concern as chose lower crop and livestock prices.”

He says the concerns may stem from COVID-19 impacts that haven’t gone away yet.

“I think that speaks to the idea that we have not fully recovered from what took place with respect to the pandemic and some of the related trade disruptions that we had and the impact that’s had on the farm economy. And that’s left people in a state where even though farm incomes these last two years have been great, they’re still kind of anxious. They’re worried longer-term about a cost-price squeeze.”