U.S. Farmer Optimism Jumps Just in Time for Midterm Elections

(Bloomberg) -- American farmers just became the most optimistic they’ve been since any time before trade tensions with China escalated, with sentiment rising ahead of the U.S. midterm elections.

That’s according to a monthly agricultural economy barometer released Tuesday by Purdue University and CME Group. The measure jumped to 136 points in October from 114 a month earlier, according to the report. Most notable was the rebound in future expectations to 146, about on par with the level in June. China in July slapped tariffs on a host of U.S. farm goods including soybeans.

Some of the newfound optimism comes from “producers’ relatively optimistic perspectives” on prices for soybeans, a focal point in U.S.-China tensions. The growers also felt more positively about corn and wheat in the year ahead.

More than 60 percent of respondents also said the U.S. trade deal with Canada and Mexico announced in early October, which still needs legislative approval, “at least somewhat relieved their farm-income concerns,” according to the report.

Still, many farmers remain cautious about making large investments. About one in five growers that planted soybeans this year expects to sow fewer acres with the crop in 2019, with two-thirds of them planning cuts of more than 10 percent.

The monthly economic sentiment index is based on a survey of 400 producers.

U.S. Farmer Optimism Jumps Just in Time for Midterm Elections

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