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Source: Purdue University

The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer Index dipped 5 points in February to a reading of 125. Farmers' perspectives regarding both current conditions on their farms and their expectations for the future both weakened slightly as the Index of Current Conditions fell 2 points to 134 and the Index of Future Expectationsdeclined to 121 compared to 127 in January. This month's survey revealed that producers' confidence in the future growth of U.S. agricultural exports continues to weaken.

In addition, although both land value expectation indices remain in positive territory, more producers think farmland values could weaken in the year ahead than on previous surveys. The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer sentiment index is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers' responses to a telephone survey. This month's survey was conducted from February 13-17, 2023.

Producers' expectations for their farms' financial performance in 2023 compared to 2022 weakened in February. The Farm Financial Performance Index declined 7 points to a reading of 86. Farmers continue to point to concerns about higher input costs, chosen by 38% of February's survey respondents, as their biggest concern for the year ahead. Notably, in this month's survey more producers said they are concerned about the risk of lower crop and/or livestock prices than just a few months ago.

Eighteen percent of this month's respondents chose lower output prices as one of the top risks they are facing, up from just 8 percent who cited that as a key risk in September. Concerns about rising interest rates appear to be on an upswing as well. In February, nearly one-fourth of survey respondents (24%) chose rising interest rates as a key concern, up from 22% in the last two months and up from just 14% who cited interest rates as a top concern last summer.

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