The March Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) continues a 16-month spree of healthy and consistent growth for the U.S. rural economy. Released by Creighton University, the RMI came in at 65.4, 3.9 points above February’s index. The index ranges from 0 to 100 with 50 representing neutral and above 50 points to growth. It’s generated by a monthly survey of rural bank CEOs in a 10-state region that depends on agriculture or energy. Creighton Economist Ernie Goss says a 25% gain in commodity prices and near-record-low short-term interest rates validate the positive RMI rating, along with growing ag exports.

Compared to 2021 net farm income, 42% of bank CEOs expect higher 2022 net farm income while 46% say they expect no change at all. The remaining 12% expect a fall in income. This strong data reflects the high commodity prices, though 96% of bankers say they have not tightened credit standards for farmers. Meanwhile, farmland value is record high and the equipment-sales index also increased slightly, contributing to the strong string of monthly RMI readings since early 2011.

Read more on the Rural Mainstreet Index and farm economy here.