Rural Mainstreet Index Reaches Lowest Level Since Recession


The October Rural Mainstreet Index by Creighton University fell to its lowest level since April of 2009. The monthly survey fell below the neutral growth mark for the 14th straight month as bankers report one in five grain farmers are experiencing negative cash flows. The index, which ranges between 0 and 100, fell to 31.8 from September’s 37.3. Survey organizer Ernie Goss says lower grain prices and a 19 percent drop in livestock prices over the last 12 months have contributed to the drop. Also tracked by the survey, the farmland and ranchland-price index for October fell to 25.0 from September’s 40.3. This is the 35th straight month the index has landed below growth neutral of 50.0. Finally, the October farm equipment-sales index sank to 13.1 from September’s 14.3. The overall Rural Mainstreet Index represents a snapshot of the rural economy of 10 agriculture-dependent states in the Midwest.