CropLife 100 Ag Retailers: Feeling Better About 2018
As fall speeds along, the harvest is steadily moving forward. In addition, here at the CropLife magazine offices, we are busily compiling the latest information from our annual CropLife 100 survey of the nation’s top ag retailers.
While all the data is still being tabulated, this year’s survey results show that respondents are much more confident that next year will be a better year for agricultural fortunes. So far, the majority of survey takers (55%) are anticipating 2018 will rate a seven or an eight on a scale of one to 10 (one being awful, 10 being great, and so on in-between). In last year’s survey, only 28% of respondents believed 2017 would rate this highly on the 10-scale. The majority of the 2016 CropLife 100 survey takers rated the year ahead at a five or a six.
Besides the CropLife 100 retailers, other sources also believe 2018 might be a better year for agriculture. Primarily, this optimism ties back to the very thing that tends to drive the marketplace from year-to-year – grower income. For much of the 2009-2013 time frame, grower income annually topped $100 billion, as commodity prices for corn and soybeans stayed high. However, commodity prices started to retreat after 2013 and had fallen to just $61.5 billion by the close of 2016, a substantial decline of 24% from the 2015 total of $81.4 billion.
But it looks as if this downward trend will end in 2017. By the end of this year, USDA estimates place grower income to hit the $63.4 billion mark, a nice 3% increase from 2016. This extra money will undoubtedly mean some growers will be more likely to spend money on crop inputs and services that they’ve largely done without for the past few seasons.
As always with these kinds of predictions, time will tell. But the early signs are pointing upward for 2018, and compared with the past few years, that could be a nice change of pace!