WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.— Uncertainty looms behind a weakened Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer reading in February, with agriculture producers less optimistic about current conditions and the commodity price outlook.

On the first Tuesday of each month, the Ag Economy Barometer provides a sense of the agricultural economy’s health with an index value through the surveying of 400 agricultural producers, according to the Ag Economy Barometer's website, while the index is accompanied by an in-depth survey of 100 agriculture and agribusiness thought leaders each quarter.

The barometer recently declined 7 points to a reading of 136, down from 143 in January, according to a news release. The Index of Current Conditions saw the biggest drop, down from 132 to 119, whereas the Index of Future Expectations weakened slightly, down from 148 to 145.

So, what exactly does this decrease in outlook mean for the agricultural industry? 

Here's what you need to know

James Mintert, the Ag Economy Barometer’s principal investigator and director of the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture, said January saw a significant boost in optimism among agricultural producers after the announcement of the second round of Market Facilitation Program payments, but it appears the positive impact eroded quickly.

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