Jan 8 - DTN/The Progressive Farmer conducted its quarterly Agriculture and Agribusiness Confidence Index designed to measure sentiment in the agriculture sector - both for producers and agribusinesses — and the results are in.
The composite Agriculture Confidence Index, which accounts for how farmers feel about both their present and future situations, came in at 109. A value of 100 is considered neutral; higher numerical values indicate optimism and values lower than 100 indicate pessimism. When the composite is split into separate time frames, farmer responses created a rating of 137 for the present, pre-planting mood, compared to a 91 rating for future expectations.
Those numbers show farmers' attitudes changed over the course of the growing season. Overall, optimism has remained fairly consistent with September 2012 being 120 and March 2012 at 140, while expectations for the future have slightly dipped, down to 91 from last September's 98 yet. At the same time in December 2011, the index rested at 134 for present and 94 for future, showing similar sentiments to this December's results.
Agribusiness owners have taken a more distinctly pessimistic view, particularly about the current situation starting the New Year, according to the November DTN/The Progressive Farmer Agribusiness Confidence Index. The agribusiness composite index is 100.7. Business owners gave their current situation an optimistic 116.2 rating, with expectations for the future scoring 90.1. That's the most pessimistic reading since DTN/The Progressive Farmer began to track business confidence in 2010.
To compile the index, DTN contacted 500 randomly selected producers as well as owners or managers of 100 agribusinesses — including elevators, ag retailers, livestock companies, food product manufacturers, ag services, bankers, cotton buyers and seed companies — across 26 states. They were asked about current and future profitability and overall business prospects for the next 12 months.