Farmer sentiment changed very little in December compared to the preceding month. The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer recorded a reading of 114, just one point lower than a month earlier. Both sub-indices of the barometer, the Index of Current Conditions and the Index of Future Expectations, also fell one point below their respective November readings. The Current Conditions Index for December was 112, while the Future Expectations Index was 115.
All three indices were weaker than in December 2022, with the barometer falling ten percent below a year earlier. Farmers still pointed to input costs at year-end as their top concern for the year ahead, but the percentage of farmers choosing the risk of lower crop and/or livestock prices rose from just 16 percent in January to 26 percent in December. Inflation expectations among farmers moderated during 2023.
Compared to a year earlier, far fewer producers expect inflation to exceed six percent in the new year, and a large majority look for inflation to average less than four percent in 2024.