Missouri Farm Bureau’s second annual FARMometer survey confirmed a variety of constructive tendencies within the attitudes of our state’s farmers and ranchers. The 1,200-plus attendees at MFB’s Annual Meeting at Tan-Tar-A in early December have been polled on a variety of agriculture-associated subjects, with the questions similar to final yr’s inaugural survey.

Overall, greater than 76 % of respondents have an optimistic outlook for 2018, up from simply 65 % final yr. Fewer than 4 % had a adverse outlook, and 20 % have been impartial. Even with abnormally low costs for many commodities and livestock for a fourth consecutive yr, it seems expectations are on the upswing.

For a second straight yr, farmers and ranchers named these low commodity and livestock costs as their prime concern out of 11 decisions. Access to reasonably priced healthcare rose to second place after being fifth final yr, reflecting hovering premium costs and the flight of suppliers from rural Missouri. High enter costs fell from second to 3rd place.

The quickest climbing concern on the record was company advertising and altering shopper preferences, rising from final place in 2016 to quantity six this yr. Farmers have confronted a rising onslaught of selling messages that each instantly and not directly assault widespread practices, together with assaults on biotechnology, animal well being and welfare and the utilization of widespread pesticides and weed management merchandise. Much of this yr’s MFB Annual Meeting targeted on the actions we will all take to assist educate our pals and neighbors concerning the work we do as farmers and ranchers, and to inform our story about caring for animals and the land.

MFB members stay extraordinarily engaged of their communities. On every merchandise, greater than 97 % of respondents stated they really feel it’s a part of their job to be lively in farm and commodity organizations, type relationships with elected officers and talk with shoppers. Missouri has some of the lively and concerned Farm Bureaus throughout the nation, and these attitudes definitely mirror that spirit.

This yr additionally noticed an uptick within the proportion of farmers and ranchers who would advocate their youngsters comply with of their footsteps, at over 93.5 % of respondents, a rise from 91 % final yr. Perhaps the current dramatic discount of the Estate Tax, which occurred after the survey was accomplished, will drive this quantity even greater subsequent yr.

Farmers and ranchers have a status for being unshakably optimistic concerning the future, all the time considering that subsequent yr could be higher than this yr. The numbers present that this fame continues to carry true in Missouri.

Eric Bohl, of Columbia, Mo., is director of public affairs for Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm group.

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