According to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and energy, the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index for January fell from December’s weak reading. Overall, The Rural Mainstreet Index, which ranges between 0 and 100, sank to 34.8 from December’s 41.5. Index coordinator Ernie Goss said recent declines are the result of lower agriculture and energy commodity prices, adding that, “prices for farm products have fallen by approximately 15 percent, and for fuels by roughly 20 percent.”
The index found sinking prices for grain and fuel have had moderate impacts on the region’s ethanol industry. The farmland and ranch land-price index for January sank to 23.9 from December’s 28.8. The January farm equipment-sales index plummeted to a record low 7.0 from December’s record low 8.8.