A new monthly report shows drought conditions continue to burden the rural economy in parts of 10 Plains and Western states.
The overall Rural Mainstreet Index for the region rose slightly in August to 42.2 from July's abysmally low 40.7. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with any number under 50 indicating a shrinking economy.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says nearly 58 percent of bankers reported in August's survey that drought conditions were having a negative effect on agriculture products in their area.
Also, bankers expect farmland prices to decline by another 3.5 percent on average over the next year.
Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.