As Central States Fair begins, where does the ag economy stand?

The farming index fell for the fifth time showing a shrinking agriculture economy.
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 6:36 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The Central States Fair kicks off in Rapid City Friday; one of the major ag showcases in South Dakota. Many ranchers at the fair are reflecting on how the nation’s economy impacts their business.

The Rural Mainstreet Economic Index, a study of the farm and ranch economies from economists at Creighton University, shows that indicators in the ag industry are going down. The overall index fell for the fifth straight month, to 44, showing a shrinking ag economy.

This comes with economic hurdles in trying to maintain a farm or ranch. The sale of farm equipment plummeted over the last month to the lowest level in two years.

Rural banks are also worried about the increase of imports from China. They see this as a threat to the Midwest farm economy.

Meade County rancher Ryan Lamont said that many see the ag economy as doing well based on market prices, but he says all these indicators cause stress.

“I think the markets are a lot better than they have been, but our input costs are astronomical, so it’s not good, it’s been hard to keep everything going,” Lamont explained.

Although the U.S. government has made recent attempts to bring inflation down, more than half of ag bankers are left unconvinced, saying they believe the Inflation Reduction Act will add to the federal deficit.

These bankers do say, however that with all these negative indicators, they’re expecting loan delinquencies to drop over the next year.