- June’s overall reading, the Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI), rose above growth neutral for the month to its highest level since May 2022.
- Bank CEOs ranked Federal Reserve rate hikes as the greatest challenge in the 12 months ahead with rising bank regulations a distant second.
- More than half of bankers reported that higher interest rates were impairing farm equipment purchases.
- Farm equipment sales declined for only the third time in the past 31 months.
- On average, bankers expect farm loan defaults to expand less than 1% over the next 12 months.
- The region exported $13.3 billion of agriculture and livestock in 2022. This represented 26.5% growth from the previous year. Mexico was the chief destination, accounting for 55.2% of the region’s farm exports.
Overall: The region’s overall reading in June climbed to 56.9, the highest reading since May 2022 and up from last month’s 55.8. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral.
“After negative growth during the first quarter of this year, the Rural Mainstreet economy experienced positive, but slow, economic growth for all of the second quarter. Only 3.4% of bankers reported a downturn in economic conditions for the month,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.