Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in nonurban, agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of a 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 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.

Colorado: After two months of moving below growth neural, Colorado’s RMI moved above 50.0 for October, rising to 53.0 from 45.2 in September. FPI and ranchland price index (RPI) increased to 52.4 from September’s 48.4. Colorado’s NHI for October was 49.8, up from 39.8 in September.

Illinois: For the first time since May of this year, Illinois’ RMI moved above growth neutral, climbing to 56.5 from September’s much weaker 48.0. FPI bounced higher with an October reading of 65.1, up significantly from September’s 54.6. NHI increased to a still weak 45.8 from 44.0 in September.

Iowa: The RMI for Iowa for October advanced to 57.0 from 48.7 in September. FPI expanded to 70.2 from 62.8 in September, while NHI slipped to 49.1 from September’s 49.4. 

Kansas: October RMI climbed to 57.3 from September’s 49.5. FPI rose to 71.7, down from September’s much lower 62.8, and the state’s NHI increased slightly to 50.2 from 49.1 in September.

Minnesota: October RMI rose to 57.2 from September’s 51.7, while FPI bounced to 76.3 from 71.1 in September, and NHI dipped to 53.2 from September’s 54.9. Pete Haddeland, CEO of First National Bank in Mahnomen, says, “Our elevators are full, and they are dumping grain on the ground. Our mainstreet business is improving.”

Missouri: RMI rose to 53.9 from September’s regional low of 41.6. FPI increased to 51.2, a regional low, from 50.2, while NHI inched up to 48.5 from 48.1 in September. Don Reynolds, president of Regional Missouri Bank in Salisbury, reports, “Crop yields are better than expected, but still less than half of last year.”

Nebraska: For the first time since June, Nebraska’s rural economy moved into positive territory. The October RMI rose to 56.1 from September’s much weaker 48.8. FPI advanced to 66.5 from 59.2 in September, and NHI declined to a weak 46.6 from September’s 47.0. Cameron Mathis, Tilden Bank in Creighton, says dryland yields were very poor, but irrigated yields were very good. “Pastures are non-existent. Cattle producers could have real problems next year,” he says

North Dakota: RMI for October advanced to a regional high 67.1 from 60.5 in September, while FPI expanded to 82.3 from September’s 68.9, and NHI rose to 77.5 from 68.0. Scott Tewksbury, CEO of Heartland State Bank in Edgeley, says much of his trade territory is reporting yield surprises on the up side. “Although not universal, many farmers are reporting yields above long term averages on both corn and soybeans,” he says.

South Dakota: October RMI for South Dakota increased to 56.5 from 48.3 in September. FPI climbed to 68.4 from September’s 58.1, while NHI rose to a still weak 47.9 from 46.3 in September. David Callies, CEO of Minor County Bank in Howard, says, “Crop yields were down, but higher prices helped offset this. Drought is a major concern going into winter.”

Wyoming: October RMI expanded to 57.8 from 46.9 in September. FPI and RPI both expanded to 68.6 from 52.9 in September, while the NHI remained below growth neutral with an October reading of 48.1, up from 42.9 in September.