Farmer sentiment improved in December as expectations were brighter on the heels of a record $46.5 billion in federal payments which buoyed net farm income to roughly $120 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast. This was a 43% improvement of the net farm income recorded in 2019.
The December survey report by Perdue University that measures sentiment on current conditions as well as future expectations indicated most farmers were encouraged by rising commodity prices, primarily corn and soybeans that have been rising since late summer.
Soybean prices rose to $13.61 per bushel this week, up considerably from spring lows of $8.22 per bushel. Corn pushed toward $5 per bushel at $4.95 this week, up from spring lows of $3.06.
The report also showed improvement in farmer sentiment regarding higher farmland values which helped to fuel the optimism. One in three farmers in the Perdue survey expect farmland values to rise over the next year and more than two-thirds expect farmland values to increase over the next five years.
Farmers were less optimistic about trade prospects in 2021 with half of them saying they expect to see agriculture exports growth through 2025, down from 63% who had that view in the fall.