The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer dipped to a reading of 113 in March, the weakest farmer sentiment reading since May 2020, the early days of the pandemic.
The March reading was 12 points lower than a month earlier and 36% lower than in March 2021. The decline in the barometer was driven both by weaker perceptions of current conditions and expectations for the future. Compared to February, the March Index of Current Conditions declined 19 points to 113 and the Index of Future Expectations declined 9 points to 113.
"Drilling down a bit further, it’s clear that disruptions to trade in ag commodities and key inputs such as fertilizer resulting from the war in Ukraine are on producers’ minds as 19% of respondents chose 'availability of inputs' as their biggest concern, matching the percentage of producers who chose 'lower crop and/or livestock prices,' the Purdue analysis says. "The March survey provided the first opportunity to ask producers explicitly how they expect war in Ukraine will impact U.S. agriculture. Producers overwhelmingly said they expect input prices to be most affected (63% of respondents) followed by crop prices (33% of respondents) and livestock prices (3% of respondents)."
When compared to a year earlier, producers’ appraisal of current conditions was down 44% while their expectations for the future fell 31%. The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer sentiment index is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted from March 14-18, 2022.