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Farmer Sentiment Improves in March

The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer shows an improved outlook for U.S. farmers during March. The index rose to 114, a three-point increase over February.

While the Index of Current Conditions fell by two points to 101, the Index of Future Expectations climbed to 120, up by five points compared to February. The disparity between the two was primarily attributable to farmers’ perceptions that a financial downturn took place over the past year, coupled with expectations for some improvement over the next 12 months. Producers’ expectations for interest rate changes have shifted, which could help explain why producers look for financial conditions to improve.

This month, 48 percent of respondents say they expect a decline in the U.S. prime interest rate over the next year. That’s up from 35 percent in December. High input costs continue to be the number one concern, with 36 percent of producers expressing worry.

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