Survey Shows Farmers Feeling Pessimistic

May 2, 2018

According to a monthly survey, farmers across the U.S. aren’t feeling too optimistic these days.  

The so-called “Ag Barometer” is a survey of 400 agricultural producers representing corn, soy, wheat, cotton, dairy, pork and beef. It shows optimism among farmers has dipped dramatically.

David Widmar is an Agricultural Economist at Purdue University where the surveys are compiled. He pointed to NAFTA and trade tariffs with China as some of the main culprits for the uncertainty in US agriculture right now.

On top of that, he pointed out, we've had some “pretty tough weather” lately. He said warmer temperatures and droughts particularly in the West have discouraged farmers about their prospects this year. That makes them more cautious.

Widmar said farmers are asking themselves whether or not it’s a good time to “make large farm investments like maybe buying a building or buying machinery.”

Still, he said generally farmers are feeling a little happier than they were under the Obama administration. And this current dip could go back up if costs go down, if commodity prices go up, or if trade disputes settle out. It all depends which way the wind blows.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

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