Rural Mainstreet Index Shows Growth

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) for December remained above growth neutral for the fourth consecutive month. It was the tenth time the monthly index suggested economic expansion in rural communities in 2020.

The overall index dipped from 54.2 in November to 50.2 in December but remained above 50, which indicates growth.

Bank CEOs who responded to the survey expect about 12.5 percent of grain farmers to experience financial losses for 2020, which is an improvement over projections for 2019, when bankers expected more than 15 percent of grain farmers to experience negative cash flows for 2019.

The November farm equipment-sales index sank to 27.9 from November’s 37.5.

Survey findings also revealed that bankers expect farm loan defaults to increase in 2020. Almost two-thirds of survey respondents indicated their bank had increased collateral requirements, and just over 34 percent said their bank had rejected a higher percentage of farm loan applications.