Creighton University produces a monthly rural main street economic report based upon a survey of bankers in an 11 state area which comprises most of the corn belt. This survey gives a good picture of where the local farm economy is headed.
In the latest report, the highlights are as follows:
- The farmland-price index moved above growth neutral for a third straight month to 59.5 from 58.2 in March. After beginning a downward slide in the spring 2008, farm and ranch prices have once again begun to grow. One banker reported that a 143-acre farm in Nebraska brought $8,025 per acre.
- The farm equipment sales index soared from March 41.4 to 57.2 in April. Bankers are reporting significant improvements in farm and ranch land prices and equipment sales. They seem to expect these trends to continue in the months ahead.
- One banker indicated the increases in cattle prices is having a large positive impact in the local economy.
- For a second straight month, all bank indicators were healthy.
- However, hiring in the rural area has yet to bounce above growth neutral.
Another interesting note was that about 82% of the bankers surveyed were in support of extending the 45-cent-per-gallon blender credit for ethanol production. Only 8% were against it.