The rural economy in the middle of the country is not booming – but it’s moving upward.

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index, or RMI, increased in July.

According to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy, July’s overall index climbed to 44.1, well below growth neutral, but up from June’s 37.9, and April’s record low 12.1.

The index ranges between 0 and 100 with a reading of 50 representing growth neutral.

Falling agriculture commodity prices and farm income have failed to diminish annual farm rents per acre.

This month bank CEOs reported average per acre farmland rents of $220, which is almost unchanged from earlier this year, and four years ago.

The overall figures include Kansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

The Kansas RMI for July rose to 46.4 from June’s 37.6.

The new-hiring index for Kansas advanced to 54.4 from 45.5 in June.