The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer turned higher for January, showing some optimism among farmers and ranchers. After trending lower in late 2017, the monthly survey of 400 agricultural producers from across the U.S. indicated that the measure of producer sentiment climbed to 135 points at the beginning of 2018, up nine points from December’s 126.
Organizers say the increase was driven by an improvement in both of the barometer’s two sub-indices: the Index of Current Conditions and the Index of Future Expectations. The improvement in future expectations jumped 11 points, and the Index of Current Conditions rose to a reading of 144, up five points compared to December 2017.
Organizers pointed to an improvement in the share of producers reporting that their farms are financially “better off” compared to a year before as a driving factor for the change. The base period score is 100 for the survey. So, a score below 100 indicates negative sentiment, while a score above 100 indicates positive sentiment.