Farm Equipment Sales Index Highest Since 2003

The farm equipment sales index showed economic expansion for the first time since June 2013 in the December Rural Mainstreet Index.

The overall index rose to 51.6 from November’s 46.8. That was the second highest reading in the past 10 months.

The December farm equipment-sales index increased to 50.2. After 86 months of readings below growth neutral, farm equipment bounced into growth territory. The reading was 42.9 in November.

The index ranges between 0 and 100 with a reading of 50 representing growth neutral.

“Recent improvements in agriculture commodity prices, federal farm support payments, and the Federal Reserve’s record low interest rates have underpinned the Rural Mainstreet Economy,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, the chair in regional economics at Creighton University. 

The confidence index, which reflects expectations among bank CEOs for the economy in six months, soared to 62.9 from November’s 50.

Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of a 10-state area are surveyed regarding current economic conditions in their communities as well as their projections on their local economies. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming participate.