According to a monthly study from Creighton University, farm equipment sales posted their first gains in a number of months.

 The university's Rural Mainstreet Index showed gains in both farm equipment sales and land prices posted gains in April. Equipment sales posted a conspicuous rise during the month, increasing from March's 41.1 to 57.2.

 Meanwhile farmland prices were up to 59.5 on the index, increasing from the previous month's 58.2. A number above 50 on the scale indicates growth in that section of the rural economy.

 "I expect both these factors to remain healthy in the months ahead," said Ernie Goss, who helped create the rural survey in 2005.

 A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City also noted that farmland prices increased during the first quarter of this year. However, the bank also said that farms that raise crops saw incomes decline in its region.

 Overall, the Rural Mainstreet Index dropped from 47.4 to 44.2 in April, the 22nd straight month is has been below growth neutral. Still, it remains well above the 21.7 reported during the fourth month of 2009.