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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. and CHICAGO, April 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer recorded its largest one-month drop in sentiment during March. The barometer dipped 47 points to a reading of 121, as concerns over the impact of the global pandemic on the agricultural economy weighed heavily on farmers' minds. The Ag Economy Barometer is based on a mid-month survey of 400 U.S. agricultural producers and was conducted from March 16-20, 2020 as the coronavirus crisis escalated in the U.S. and around the world.

Both the Index of Current Conditions and Index of Future Expectations also recorded their largest one-month declines. Farmer sentiment regarding current conditions fell 43 points to a reading of 111 and future expectations fell 49 points to a reading of 126. Collectively, this month's decline in the barometer and its sub-indices pushed the index down to levels last seen in September 2019, when weak commodity prices and an unresolved trade dispute left many farmers concerned over their financial futures.

"First and foremost, the U.S. farmers we surveyed said they were concerned about how the coronavirus will impact their farms in 2020 leaving little doubt that it was the leading driver for this month's drop in sentiment," said James Mintert, the barometer's principal investigator and director of Purdue University's Center for Commercial Agriculture. "While originally it was thought that the coronavirus effect would be limited to trade with China, now it appears producers are bracing for challenging financial times leading into the 2020 planting season."

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