Rural Mainstreet Index drops in February

A farm equipment sales index declined recently.
A farm equipment sales index declined recently.
A recent report shows that things continued to be difficult on the rural economy in February.

Creighton University's Rural Mainstreet Index declined from a reading of 41 in January to 36.6 the following month. A reading above 50 on the index indicates that there is growth in the rural economy.

Ernie Goss, an economist at the university, said that the RMI has been below the 50 mark for 24 straight months as the economy in rural areas continues to falter when compared with urban parts of the country.

"Agriculture producers have been taking a conservative approach to their buying and this is showing up in our survey," Goss said.

In order to develop the numbers presented in the survey, bank CEOs are surveyed from 10 states. Though the price of farmland in the index hit growth levels in February, sales of farm equipment fell, dropping from 47.2 to 42.4 in February.

This does not bode well for equipment manufacturers who already feel as though this year will be tough on sales. According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, sales of most types of farm tractors are expected to be down in 2010.