The Ag Economy Barometer rose in March to 177, the highest reading for the barometer since the record setting performance in October of 184. Organizers say this month’s 12-point rise in the barometer was attributable almost entirely to ag producers’ more optimistic view of the future. The Index of Future Expectations climbed to 164, 16 points above February’s index. Although the Index of Current Conditions, at 202, changed little from a month earlier when it stood at 200, it did mark a return to the index’s record high, first reached in December.

Strong ag commodity prices and improved farm financial conditions continue to support the Ag Economy Barometer readings as heading into the year ahead. The improvement in future expectations occurred even though producers are becoming increasingly pessimistic that the trade dispute with China will be resolved in a way that’s beneficial to U.S. agriculture. Producers continue to be relatively optimistic about making capital investments and became more optimistic about farmland values.

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