- Overall index rose to its highest reading since January 2020.
- Business and economic outlook soared to its highest level since March 2011.
- Bank CEOs estimated 2021 cash land rent for non-irrigated, non-pastureland at $218.
- Rural Mainstreet retail sales remain very weak.
- The February farmland price index climbed to its highest level since May 2013.
- Bankers expect farm equipment sales to expand by 3.8% over the next 12 months.
OMAHA, Neb. (Feb. 18, 2021) – For the fourth time in the past five months, the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) climbed above growth neutral. According to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy, the index increased to its highest level since January 2020.
Overall: The overall index for February rose to 53.8 from January’s 52.0. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral.
“Sharp gains in grain prices, federal farm support, and the Federal Reserve’s record-low interest rates have underpinned the Rural Mainstreet Economy. Only 8% of bank CEOs indicated economic conditions worsened from the previous month. Even so, current rural economic activity remains below pre-pandemic levels,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.