Farmer Optimism on the Rise

According to surveys in the Progressive Farmer, a country life magazine, the confidence and optimism of American farmers is on the rise.

Begun in April of 2010, the Progressive Farmer surveys are intended to measure the economic confidence of the American agricultural sector. According to the editor of Progressive Farmer, the overall outlook on the farm sector is positive. “Things are really good today,” he said, “Even if they are not as good in the future, that’s still a pretty good outlook.”

Farmers have good reason to be confident. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farm incomes will increase nearly 30 percent this year and are expected to reach record highs. Cattle and hog futures have risen last year, 12 and 6 percent respectively, and prices for major commodities like corn, wheat, and soybeans were all up at least 21 percent. In addition, farm exports have dramatically increased, with trade revenue reaching nearly $140 billion.

However, some farmers are still uneasy about the future. While the survey indicated an increased confidence regarding farmers’ present situation in the larger farm economy, the survey also revealed that confidence for the next 12 months remains largely unchanged.

This contradiction can partially be explained by the response of one Iowa farmer, who stated, “When we hear that the farm economy is good, we know deep down in our souls that that is transitory. Our business is cyclical. When it is good, we plan for when the next foot falls.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer