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Rural Mainstreet Index Remains Positive

Dan Economy, Industry News Release

Dodd-Frank Limits Lending for Most Rural Banks

March Survey Results at a Glance:
*  For a second straight month the overall index rose above growth neutral.
*  Approximately 16.8 percent of grain farmers are expected to suffer negative cash flow for 2018. This is down slightly from 12 months earlier.
* The percent of farmland purchases for cash (not financed) declined from 23 percent to 20 percent over the past 12 months according to bankers.
* Farmland prices and agriculture equipment sales continued to decline.

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index slipped in March, but remained above growth neutral for a second straight rural mainstreetmonth, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy. This is the first time since the middle of 2015 that we have recorded two straight months of overall indices above growth neutral.

Overall:

The overall index dipped slightly to a solid 54.7 from 54.8 in February. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with 50.0 representing growth neutral.

“Surveys over the past several months indicate that the Rural Mainstreet economy is trending upward with improving, but slow economic growth. However, weak agriculture commodity prices continue to weigh on the rural economy,” said Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University Heider College of Business.   

Jim Eckert, president of Anchor State Bank in Anchor, Illinois, reported, “Recent commodity price increases have helped the mood of our farmers. Our area is somewhat dry and good spring rains will be essential for a good 2018 crop.” 

Farming and ranching:

The farmland and ranchland-price index for March dropped to 42.7 from February’s 46.3. This is the 52nd straight month the index has fallen below growth neutral 50.0.

The percent of farmland…..  Read the full Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index report.