The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer took a big jump up in October. The October index came in at 136, which was 22 points higher than the September index, and sits at a number close to its level in 2017.
The driving force behind the jump in the index level was the improved way that producers see both current and future conditions. Month-to-month readings continue to shift by large margins as producers continue to be buffeted by a number of factors like commodity prices and news about trade negotiations and disputes.
Although producers are more optimistic about the current conditions, study authors say it’s the relatively positive outlook on the future that drove the jump in optimism. This month’s 146 is back to the level it was at this past spring, just before the trade war with China got going. News of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement spurred mixed reactions from producers as far as their expectation for farm income in 2019. More than 60 percent of producers say the agreement somewhat relieved concerns about farm income next year. One fourth of the producers surveyed say the agreement didn’t help relieve any of their concerns at all.