Ag Economy Barometer
Purdue University/CME Group
The improvement in the barometer and its two primary sub-indices occurred against the backdrop of USDA’s September 18th announcement of the second round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) payments for U.S. agricultural producers. The program provides up to $14 billion in additional assistance to agricultural producers determined to have suffered from market disruptions and costs because of COVID-19. Program details were released on September 21st, just as data collection for this month’s survey began. Additionally, fall harvested crop prices strengthened from the time data was collected for the August to the September surveys, in a continuation of a rally that got underway in late summer. For example, in west-central Indiana cash corn prices rose nearly $0.20 per bushel from late August to late September, while cash soybean prices rose nearly $1 per bushel. The resulting revenue boost from these two sources likely provided much of the impetus for this month’s 18-point rise in the Index of Current Conditions and the 12-point rise in the Ag Economy Barometer.