Ag Barometer: USDA Aid, Improved Crop Prices Lifts Farmer Sentiment, But Declines In Exports

Oct 21, 2020

Farmer sentiment continues to rebound after a sharp decline earlier this year due to COVID-19.
Credit (Courtesy of Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture)

The Purdue Ag Economy Barometer continues to show optimism recovering in the agriculture industry after a record drop this spring in response to COVID-19. However, farmers are less optimistic on the trade front than earlier this year.

Last month, the United States Department of Agriculture announced a second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to help farmers continuing to face losses due to the pandemic. 

In a video breaking down September’s survey, barometer co-author Jim Mintert pointed to a couple of reasons behind the recent results. 

“Farmers became more confident about current conditions partly because of the rally in commodity prices that took place as well as the USDA’s announcement of the second round of CFAP payments in 2020,” Mintert said in a video.

Mintert said while farmers are more confident now than they were early on in the pandemic, the number of farmers expecting ag exports to increase over the next five years dropped roughly 15 percent in September than earlier in 2020.

“Early in the year we had actually 72 percent of the farmers in our survey were optimistic about growth in ag exports,” he said in a video.

Mintert said farmers were split when asked if they believed China would fulfill the Phase 1 trade deal agreement increasing U.S. soybean purchases with 53 percent saying they thought it was unlikely.

Indiana agriculture exports more than $4 billion annually.

The barometer surveys 400 farmers across the country each month.

Contact reporter Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.