by Ben Nuelle
CME Group and Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture partner to produce an Ag Economy Barometer. The Ag Economy Barometer measures people’s confidence in the farm sector with respect to the Ag economy.
Jim Mintert is Director of Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.
“We survey 400 commercial farmers around the nation once a month and pose a series of questions to them. We then use that to compose an index that measures their perspective about the health of the Ag economy.”
Mintert says before this barometer there really wasn’t an information set that tried to measure the health of the farm economy.
“This is the first one on an ongoing basis. There’s been a couple of other people that have done things on a periodic basis but ours is the first one that mirrors what’s going on in the U.S. economy with respect to a monthly survey so we can pick up some changes that are occurring throughout the course of the year.”
Mintert says the center started collecting data for the ag economy barometer last fall but the most recent data release was from this April.
“Confidence was increasing during the course of the month of April. During the winter, we were seeing the ag economy barometer decline month by month but as we got into the month of April we saw a fairly sharp rise. In fact, the reading for the month of March was 85, but the reading for the month of April was 106. So there was a fairly dramatic turnaround in terms of confidence in the ag sector and the farm economy.”
He says he thinks a lot of that was driven by the improvement in commodity prices in March and how they accelerated in April.