Ag Economy Barometer Plummets and Strong Land Prices Continue
**Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is promising to transform the U.S. food system, saying the pandemic and supply chain disruptions have presented a “litany of challenges.”
He outlined a new USDA framework for a transformed system to stock store shelves and “deliver a better deal for farmers, ranchers, growers and consumers.”
Senator John Boozman, ranking member of the Senate Ag Committee, says the USDA plan “fails to meet the moment.”
**The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer plummeted in May to a reading of just 99, the weakest since April 2020.
The May barometer marked just the ninth time, since data collection began in 2015, that the overall measure of farmer sentiment fell below 100.
The Index of Current Conditions fell 26 points to a reading of 94, while the Index of Future Expectations declined 21 points to 101 in May.
**The stronger land prices of late 2021 continued higher through the first half of 2022.
After a calm and steady start of the year, prices jumped up thanks to the outbreak of war in Ukraine and ongoing inflation fears.
Farmers saw higher commodity prices, and investors wanted a low-risk inflation hedging investment, which together propelled the competition for good cropland.
Prices for good quality cropland are up 20% in some areas since the first of the year.