A poll conducted among corporate agribusiness executives last week showed the majority think the current ag economy is positive and are expecting an even better environment over the next 12 months.
On a scale of 0 (lowest) to 100 (highest), the overall Agri-Marketers' Confidence Index (ACI) scored a 91, which compares to 82 when the poll was conducted last August.
The poll was conducted by Agri Marketing magazine and the ABM's Agri-Council. The poll was sent to 321 executives of companies that develop and sell products to North American crop and livestock producers. A total of 109 (34%) company representatives participated in the poll, including a very wide sampling of large and small enterprises, as well as both crop and livestock-oriented companies.
"The ACI is modeled closely along the lines of the well-known consumer confidence studies regularly reported by The Conference Board," reports Steve Custer, Chair of the ABM Agri-Council's Research Committee and Executive Vice President of Farm Journal Media.
"It is an indicator designed to measure the confidence or the degree of optimism among agribusiness marketers on the state of the agribusiness economy. It looks at both their outlook for their own business now and in the future, as well as their perception of the outlook for their customers - the nation's farmers and ranchers."
ACI is calculated by looking at the percentage of positive versus negative responses.
To read how ACI is calculated and its complete results, click here.
A few of the highlights include:
• 77% of the marketers rated the current business conditions for their company as positive. That is nearly 13 times the number of those rating it as negative.
• 60% believe the business conditions 12 months from now will be better.
• 29% expect to increase their marketing communications budget one year from now with another 55% expecting it will remain the same.
"The current ag economy is strong, both in the crop and livestock sectors, with the exception of the dairy industry due to high feed costs and low milk prices," says Lynn Henderson, Publisher of Agri Marketing. "In fact, USDA just issued a report forecasting a record net farm income at $82 billion, up 31% over last year and 26% higher than the ten year average."
Henderson notes other ag related indexes have reported optimistic results, as well. "Creighton University's Rural Mainstreet Index, a survey conducted among bankers which was released last week, moved above growth neutral 50.0-its highest level since January 2009.
"Farmers are feeling optimistic, too," Henderson reports. "The recent Agriculture Confidence Index conducted by DTN/The Progressive Farmer was 151, compared to 100 last April."
One tangible measure of farmers' optimism are farmland values which in Iowa rose 16% over the prior year according to the annual survey conducted by Iowa State University Extension.