Business confidence in the U.S. heartland remains solid overall as the rural economy logs its ninth straight month of expansion, according to the Creighton University Rural Main Street Index for October. But the farm sector isn’t doing so well and the nation’s emerging trade war is hurting, according to the survey of CEOs of rural banks in 10 states across the Midwest, Plains and Rocky Mountains regions. "The negative impacts of tariffs and low agriculture commodity prices continue to weaken the farm sector,” said Ernie Goss, the Creighton economist who oversees the survey. The farmland and ranchland-price index for October sank to 34.8 from 37.5 in September. This is the 59th straight month the index has fallen below the growth neutral score of 50.0. On average, bankers estimated that farmland prices declined by 4 percent over the past 12 months and expect farmland prices to fall by another 3.2 percent over the next year. Also, the index for farm equipment-sales, at 33.3 for October, has reflected market shrinkage for 62 consecutive months.

For more news, go to: