Farm Progress

Strong crop, livestock prices improve farmer sentiment

Survey responses share insights regarding cash rental rates and farm bill priorities.

Compiled by staff

July 5, 2023

4 Min Read
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Farmer sentiment rebounded in June as the Ag Economy Barometer rose 17 points to a reading of 121. June’s sentiment improvement left the index near the April reading of 123 after a one-month swoon in May.

The swing in sentiment was driven by producers’ more optimistic view of the future while their perception of the current situation was unchanged. In June, 20% of respondents said they expected their financial condition to improve over the next year, compared to just 13% who said that in May. Meanwhile, 32% expect their farm’s financial situation to decline over the upcoming year, compared to 44% who responded that way in May.

Producers improved perspective on the future was not focused solely on their own farms, but extended to all of U.S. agriculture. The percentage of producers expecting good times for U.S. agriculture in the upcoming 5 years rose 8 points to 33% while the percentage expecting bad times fell 3 points to 41%.

Promising crop and livestock returns

A more optimistic view of the future was also reflected in the Farm Financial Performance Index which rose 10 points in June to a reading of 86. The rally in corn and soybean prices for fall delivery was likely a contributing factor to the financial performance index rise.

Although respondents were more optimistic about both crop and livestock returns this month, expectations for “good times” for livestock producers increased more than for crop producers. For example, 50% of respondents said they expect “good times” for livestock producers in the next 5 years, up from 37% who felt that way in May which was nearly double the increase in the percentage of respondents expecting “good times” for crop producers. Optimism about positive returns for cattle producers, especially cow-calf operations, was likely a key factor behind the positive livestock outlook.

Cash rent expectations

Producers became more optimistic about farmland values in June as both the short and long-run farmland value indices rose. The more positive outlook for farmland values was consistent with the improved longer-term outlook for U.S. agriculture that was evident in this month’s survey. Additionally, 43% of producers in this month’s survey think interest rates have peaked and nearly a quarter of survey respondents expect to see lower interest rates within the next year. 

This month’s survey also included a question targeted toward corn and soybean producers regarding their expectations for farmland cash rental rates in 2024. Twenty-five percent of the corn/soybean producers in this month’s survey said they expect 2024 cash rental rates in their area to rise above 2023’s rates. In a follow-up question only posed to respondents who said they expect rental rates to rise, nearly one-third (32%) said they expect rental rates in 2024 to increase up to 5%, while nearly half (49%) look for rates to rise from 5 up to 10%, both compared to 2023.

Focus on the farm bill

Several questions were posed in the June survey to learn more about what producers are thinking concerning the passage of a new farm bill. Corn and soybean producers continue to view the Crop Insurance title as the most important component of the farm bill followed closely by the Commodity title.

In both May and June, the survey included questions asking corn/soybean producers if they expect Congress to raise the PLC reference prices for corn and soybeans. This month half of those respondents said they look for Congress to raise both the corn and soybean reference prices.

In response to ongoing concerns about the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding California’s Proposition 12 mandating housing standards for hogs processed into pork that will be sold in California, respondents were asked about the likelihood Congress would overturn Proposition 12 as part of a new farm bill. Producers were split in their response to this question. Just over one-third (36%) of respondents said it’s either somewhat or very unlikely that Congress will try and overturn Proposition 12 in a new farm bill, while one-fourth (25%) of farmers in the June survey said it’s at least somewhat likely Congress will take on Proposition 12 in new farm bill legislation.

This month’s Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer survey was conducted from June 12-16, 2023. Read more about this month’s survey results.

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Cash RentFarm Bill
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