The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index was at growth neutral 50 this month.
“Things are stabilizing, but still somewhat weak,” said economist Ernie Goss. “The part of the economy connected to grain is still weak. On the plus side, livestock prices have moved higher, particularly on the cattle side. The impending export of beef to China is going to be good and especially good for Kansas.”
The Kansas Rural Mainstreet Index was slightly below neutral at 47.6, down from 48.8.
“It’s sort of moving sideways, if you will,” said Goss. “That’s better than what we were seeing. We asked the bank CEOs about farmland prices, what they expect over the next year, and it’s about another 3 percent decline.”
That’s actually better news than previous reports, which had the downward trend at 6 to 7 percent.
“Things are getting better,” said Goss. “They’re just not getting better at a pace that makes the farm sector and those businesses tied to the farm sector feel that good. I’m more positive because of the livestock sector and because of the exports. We may see some relief there.”
That relief could come from a weakening dollar as a result of the monetary policy changes announced by the Federal Reserve earlier this week. Due to weak farm income, almost one fourth of the bankers surveyed report rejecting a higher percentage of farmer loan applications and approximately 60.9 percent reported boosting collateral on farm loans.