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Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest covers these agriculture-related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.Most Harvest Public Media stories begin with radio- regular reports are aired on member stations in the Midwest. But Harvest also explores issues through online analyses, television documentaries and features, podcasts, photography, video, blogs and social networking. They are committed to the highest journalistic standards. Click here to read their ethics standards.Harvest Public Media was launched in 2010 with the support of a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Today, the collaboration is supported by CPB, the partner stations, and contributions from underwriters and individuals.Tri States Public Radio is an associate partner of Harvest Public Media. You can play an important role in helping Harvest Public Media and Tri States Public Radio improve our coverage of food, field and fuel issues by joining the Harvest Network. Learn more here.

Biden's Win Leaves Farmers Less Optimistic About The Future

In October, Purdue University’s Ag Economy Barometer recorded its highest-ever index, meaning farmers were at an all-time high level of optimism.

However, that number dropped off significantly in November, due in large part to the presidential election.

“[When] you have a change in the party that’s running the White House, there’s going to be changes in how people view policy issues,” says Michael Langemeier, a professor at Purdue University who helps calculate the monthly index.

The Ag Economy Barometer measures the overall health of the agriculture economy by surveying 400 producers nationwide about everything from farmland value to trade relationships. About half of those surveyed are corn and soybean producers.

The index measured 183 in October -- an all-time high. It fell to 167 in November.

In general, farmers expect the Biden administration to impose more restrictive regulations and higher taxes.
Credit Courtesy of Purdue University
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In general, farmers expect the Biden administration to impose more restrictive regulations and higher taxes.

“I wasn’t really surprised to see the results that we did,” Langemeier says.

Both the October and November surveys attempted to gauge how producers feel about the outcome of the presidential election. They included questions about whether producers expected to see higher taxes, less federal farm assistance and major policy changes, including more restrictive environmental regulations.

Far more producers responded “yes” to those questions in November than in October, causing what Langemeier calls “long-term optimism” to fall.

Short-term optimism, however, rose. Survey results show that farmers feel good about the next year or so, largely due to high crop prices and stable trade relations with China.

The overall post-election dip in producer optimism is the reverse of what happened in the aftermath of the 2016 election, according to Langemeier.

“More people thought that we were going to have less restrictive environmental policy, lower taxes and a stronger farm safety net in 2016,” he says. “The results in 2020 are the reverse.”

In general, the barometer has steadily increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, for example, the index was calculated at a mere 96.

Follow Dana on Twitter: @DanaHCronin

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