New agricultural economist survey forecasts key drivers of U.S. ag outlook

The University of Missouri’s agricultural policy research centers, in partnership with Farm Journal, will release a national monthly survey of leading agricultural economists to forecast agricultural market trends.

June 29, 2023
Contact: Courtney Perrett, 573-882-6217,

Missouri is home to 95,000 farms that span almost 70% of the state’s land and produce a variety of commodities, including soybeans, corn and cattle. As stakeholders make management decisions and gauge the future of the agricultural economy, the University of Missouri’s Rural and Farm Finance Policy Analysis Center (RaFF) and Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), in partnership with Farm Journal, have launched The Ag Economists’ Monthly Monitor survey — a valuable resource to empower stakeholders with timely insights about agricultural markets.

“The Ag Economists’ Monthly Monitor survey is an important resource as it provides farms, ranches and agribusinesses with a glimpse into the thoughts and opinions of expert economists on the current and future states of agricultural markets, both domestically and abroad,” said Scott Brown, interim director of RaFF and principal author on this project.

Composed of a select group of nationally recognized experts spanning academia, private industry and commodity groups across the country, the Monthly Monitor addresses unique and timely topics ranging from crop and livestock trends, to farm finance expectations and pre-Department of Agriculture report estimates. Notably, the survey is anonymous, something that makes this tool particularly valuable in facilitating a diversity of candid expert opinions.

“The intent is to provide another source of expectations for farmers,” said Pat Westhoff, director of FAPRI. “If someone's trying to decide which crop to plant next year, hopefully we get some information about likely prices that will go above and beyond just what they might see from a marketing newsletter or from USDA projections.”

The first Monthly Monitor, released on June 28, examines economists’ expectations of the country’s planted acreage, cattle inventory, crop yields and an analysis of the broader agricultural economy’s foreseen challenges and opportunities.

Estimated corn yield trends from the first Ag Economists Monthly Monitor survey. Photo courtesy of Scott Brown

As weather patterns continue to shift unpredictably and geopolitical factors affect agricultural markets, the Ag Economists’ Monthly Monitor gives farmers greater insights and an opportunity to weigh options for mitigating risk. For example, if Missouri were to have serious drought conditions that reduce production, commodity prices could be impacted; widespread drought could impose unique effects on farm income despite production challenges.

“It's good to get both a consensus view but also a range of responses from people who spend a lot of time thinking about these issues,” Westhoff said.

In the first Monthly Monitor, economists were asked to share their primary concerns for the U.S. agricultural economy. Some of the group’s collective concerns include:

  • Abnormal weather patterns.
  • Export demand and geopolitical risks.
  • Increased interest rates and input prices.
  • Margin squeeze for producers.
  • Regulatory pressures having a negative impact on demand.

The results of each Monthly Monitor will be available at

“RaFF and FAPRI team members are enthusiastic about the future of the Ag Economists’ Monthly Monitor and the opportunity the survey affords for economists of varying expertise to share their views with a broader audience,” said Brown.

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