Bankers: Weak farm prices biggest threat to rural economy

Published 10:02 am Friday, January 20, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. — Bankers across Middle America said depressed farm commodity prices are the biggest threat to the economy this year in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states.

The overall economic index in a monthly survey of bankers for the region remained in negative territory at 42.8 in January, down slightly from December’s 42.9. Survey officials said any score below 50 suggests an economic decline.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said livestock commodity prices have tumbled by 7.3 percent and grain commodity prices by 11.7 percent in the last year.

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Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming participated.

Goss said the rural economy is improving in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota, while all the other states are trending lower.