What Has Bean on Farmers’ Minds During Planting Season?

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For America’s agricultural producers, springtime means planting season –
and soybeans are on the agenda.According to the USDA, the U.S. is
currently the world’s leading soybean producer. As farmers work to get
those soybeans in the ground this year, there are global issues weighing
on their minds.The latest results of the Purdue University-CME Group Ag
Economy Barometer suggest that America’s food producers are concerned
that a prolonged trade war with China could impact U.S. soybean exports.
The monthly survey, from Purdue University and CME Group, the world’s
leading and most diverse derivatives exchange, measures farmer and
rancher sentiment toward the U.S. farm economy.The number of producers
expecting soybean prices to decline this year rose to 27 percent in
April, compared to just 15 percent at the beginning of the year. Soybean
prices are particularly vulnerable to disruptions in trade with China,
as China’s share of U.S. soybean exports is approximately 30
percent.Overall, the Ag Economy Barometer experienced two consecutive
months of decline, falling 10 points in April, following a March dip of 5
points.”Producers’ weakening perceptions of the current agricultural
climate, along with a decline in their expectations for future economic
conditions, were the main drivers of the barometer’s overall decline,”
says James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director
of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.Since May 2016,
Purdue University and CME Group have published the Ag Economy Barometer
on a monthly basis to measure food producers’ shifting perceptions
about the U.S. agricultural economy over time. The barometer surveys 400
agricultural producers each month to discern their opinions on key
economic drivers, and analyze what factors are influencing their outlook
for the farm economy.