Farm economy boosted by ethanol industry

The latest Rural Mainstreet Index shows the ethanol industry is strengthening the ag economy.

Ernie Goss is an economist with Creighton University. “Nine out of 10 bankers said ethanol is very important to their local economy,” he said. “This part of the country produces about 75% of all ethanol in the U.S.”

The Rural Mainstreet Index is a survey of ag bankers in 10 states including: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Goss tells Brownfield the February survey showed the index stayed slightly above growth neutral for a third straight month.

“The rural economy is moving sideways,” he said. “The farm sector is looking somewhat, I don’t want to say strong, but it’s still holding up better than the overall rural mainstreet economy.”

He says the survey also showed farmland prices have advanced for 29 straight months.

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