Is Trump the reason for surging agriculture sentiment?

Dive Brief:

  • The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer revealed that agricultural producers’ sentiment rose in December, according to Food Business News
  • Following barometer readings of 92 in October and 116 in November, the 132 mark in December registered the highest number since the data was first collected more than two years ago. The barometer is derived from a monthly survey of 400 agricultural producers and is known throughout the industry as a strong measure of the U.S. agricultural economy’s health.
  • “Despite the improvement in sentiment among producers revealed by the December survey... nearly two-thirds of the producers surveyed indicated that the financial conditions of their farming operations were worse in December 2016 than a year earlier," Purdue University agricultural economists said, according to Food Business News. 

Dive Insight:

In addition to the Purdue University Barometer, the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment also showed a sharp increase, going from a reading of 87 in October to a 12-year high of 98 in December.

Economists don’t believe that the optimism is driven by changes in corn and soybean. Some believe this positive outlook has more to do with the fact that President-elect Donald Trump is about to take office. Farmers were some of his largest supporters. In fact, the report showed that 71% of respondents expected the economy to experience “widespread good times” over the next five years, an uptick of more than half since October and pre-election.

Surveys of farmers have revealed they are very happy with the results of Election Day and are optimistic about what’s to come.

Up until now, Trump hasn’t done much in the way of backing up his words with action. He’s yet to nominate someone to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and he’s been silent about policy concerning the industry since being elected.

With the next barometer due in January after he takes office, it will be interesting to see if the enthusiasm continues.

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