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Producers Concerned with Policy Issues

Slight improvement in sentiment, but farmers worry about increasing environmental regulations, higher taxes

Ag Barometer January 2021

Farmer sentiment improved modestly in December as the Ag Economy Barometer rose to a reading of 174, up 7 points from November.

The slight rise is primarily a result of farmer’s perception that current conditions on their farming operations improved compared to a month earlier.

Although the Ag Economy Barometer rose in December, it remained 9 points below its October reading. Producers this month were markedly more inclined to say this is a good time to make large investments in their farming operation than a month earlier, as the Farm Capital Investment rose 13 points to a life of survey high reading of 93.

Their optimism was also reflected in their expectations for farmland values as the percentage of farmers who expect farmland values to rise over the next five years rose to a record high of 65 percent.

Comparing survey results from before the November election to the post-election time frame, there continues to be less optimism following the election about future ag exports and more concerns about increasing environmental regulations and prospects for higher taxes.

Additionally, the percentage of producers concerned that the farm income safety net will weaken remained higher post-election than before the election, as did the percentage of farmers expecting government support for the ethanol industry to decline.

The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted from December 7-11, 2020.

Read the full report here.

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