The Ag Economy Barometer plummeted in April, declining to a reading of 115, an 18-point decline compared to March when the index stood at 133.
The 18-point decline in the index was the fourth largest one-month fall in the barometer since data collection began in October 2015. Organizers say the barometer’s decline was driven by worsening perceptions of both current economic conditions and weaker expectations for the future.
Producers surveyed were less inclined to think now is a good time to invest in buildings and equipment, and are less optimistic that the trade dispute with China will be resolved by July first than they were a month earlier. Over half, 56 percent, of farmers in the April survey reported they expect their farms’ financial performance to be about the same as last year.
However, 27 percent of farmers said they expect this year’s financial performance to be worse than last year. Finally, producers appear to have a more negative perspective on the future direction of corn and soybean futures, helping to explain some of the decline in the barometer.