Low commodity prices contribute to negative Mainstreet economy

The latest Rural Mainstreet Index has sunk below growth neutral for a sixth straight month.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says lower agricultural commodity prices has been the biggest factor. “It’s the top risk at least according to the bankers. “Now they’re not farmers but they got close ties to the farmers and when we ask them about the biggest risk for the farmers they listed that one.”

The index is a monthly survey of ag bankers in 10 states including Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Regarding the outlook of prices, Goss tells Brownfield, “I think it’s somewhat unknown, but if I had to lean one way or the other, I’d say it’s still negative. Farmers are still looking out there and not buying equipment. Their optimism is not strong because of higher interest rates and the global economy is slowing down.”

He says the February survey also showed farmland prices expanded for the 51st straight month.

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