Surging prices top 2022 farm threat

Surging prices for fertilizer and other farm supplies are the greatest economic risk in 2022 for farmers, according to a monthly survey of rural bankers.

In the latest Rural Mainstreet Index, bankers in 10 states overwhelmingly named inflation as the biggest threat to local economies, followed by supply chain disruptions and rising interest rates.

The overall index, which gauges bankers’ real-time assessment of the rural economy, fell in January to 61.1 from December’s 66.7 but still remained above the growth-neutral for the 14th straight month. The index ranges from zero to 100, with 50 representing growth neutral.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, the study’s author, said the reading indicates “healthy consistent growth for the region,” which continues to benefit from solid grain prices, continued record-low interest rates and growing agricultural exports.