Market Prices, Input Costs, Pushing Expectations Lower

Farmer sentiment took a downturn at the start of 2024 as the January Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer Index fell to a reading of 106, eight points below a month earlier. Compared to year-end, producers had a more negative outlook of their farms’ current situation along with a weakened outlook for the future.

The Current Conditions Index fell nine points, and the Future Expectations Index dropped seven points, both compared to December. Anticipated lower farm income in 2024 significantly influenced the decline across all indices, evident in the Farm Financial Performance Index registering at 85, 12 points lower than a month earlier. The percentage of producers expecting weaker financial performance rose from 20 percent in December to 31 percent in January, while those expecting incomes to be about the same fell from 63 percent to 53 percent.

The combination of high input costs and declining commodity prices generated a weaker financial performance outlook for 2024, according to the survey results.