The results of a recent survey from Nebraska's Creighton University shows that sales of farm equipment continue to find difficulty in a market where rural economies are facing job losses.
The university's Rural Mainstreet Index did grow for the third month in a row, up from 37.5 in October to 38.4 in November. The index, which relies on a survey of bank CEOs in 11 states, has a scale of zero to 100, with a reading of 50 indicating a "growth neutral" situation.
Though farm equipment sales did grow on the index, they remain below levels seen last year. That portion of the index did see slight growth, increasing from 36.7 in October to 39.9 for November.
"Farmers are a lot more cautious in their purchases of farm equipment than they were in early 2008," Ernie Goss, an economist at the university who helped create the index, said.
Goss said the RMI has remained below the growth-neutral point for 21straight months. As far as any recovery for rural communities, delays in the harvest due to bad weather have made it difficult to gauge crop prices.
The delays have affected much of the country as farmers find it difficult to get harvesting equipment into their fields.