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Report: Farmers' feelings about economy on rise again

by the WPD STAFF

Worries about a growing trade war with China and low commodity prices plagued U.S. farmers for much of 2018, but it appears those fears may be starting to wane.

A new report from Purdue University and the CME Group’s Ag Economy Barometer, which measures producer confidence in the economy, found that optimism was rising among U.S. farmers in October.

The survey attributes this rise in part to the Trump administration’s announcement of a renegotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. But the rise also comes immediately following the largest drop in producer confidence recorded by the barometer since its inception in 2016.

“We continue to see large month-to-month variations in the barometer readings as a result of swings in major commodity prices and emerging news about trade negotiations with key ag trade partners,” James Mintert, director of Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture, said in a statement Tuesday.

The October survey asked farmers “whether they believed the agreement would relieve their concerns over farm income in the next 12 months.” About 60 percent of respondents felt that it would, while around 25 percent said the agreement would not help.

The report also found farmers were more optimistic about commodity prices heading into 2019.