The September 16 report from Creighton University’s Rural Mainstreet Study reported significant growth in the farm equipment sales index.

According to Kathy Thuman, president of Farmers State Bank in Maywood, Neb, “The general economy is still struggling, but the crop and livestock producers are looking at an exceptional year.  Growing conditions are the best in decades, yields are up and prices are good.”  She indicated that the biggest concern was a dramatic increase in farm input costs.

The farm equipment-sales index soared to 56.2 from 52.7 in August. “As the outlook for the farm sector has improved significantly, farmers have likewise expanded their purchases of capital equipment.  I see this very positive trend continuing for the rest of 2010,” said Ernie Goss, the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton.

For a seventh straight month, all bank indicators were above growth neutral. The loan-volumes index increased to 57.4 from 54.2 in August. For September, the checking-deposit index improved to 65.6 from August’s 59.1. The index for certificates of deposit and other savings instruments inched higher to 55.0 from August’s 54.2.

Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in nonurban, agriculturally and resource-dependent portions of the 10-state area are surveyed regarding current economic conditions in their communities and their projected economic outlooks six months down the road. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are included.

This survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural, agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It gives the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy.