Economic conditions are fairly strong in rural areas in the Midwest, according to the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index.

“This is a survey of Bank CEOs in rural areas of 10 states,” said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss. “The overall index was above growth neutral for the tenth time in the past year. That’s certainly good news. It looks like things are stabilizing. There’s a lot more good news than bad news with USMCA now passing.”

That’s not the only positive trade development.

“Reducing uncertainty, that’s the major thing,” said Goss. “Of course, then we’ve got the Chinese Phase I deal. When that’s signed, probably, when that comes forth in January and we see that signed, that will be even better. It was a lot more good news now than we’ve seen in some time.”

The programs President Trump has used to help producers seem to have worked.

“It didn’t hurt that we got about $16 billion of support from the federal government in 2019,” said Goss. “We got $12 billion in 2018. Now, we’re probably going to get more federal support this year before it’s all done. That’s really helping the agricultural sector and those industries tightly linked to agriculture.”

The Kansas Rural Mainstreet Index for December is at 52.6. Fifty is growth neutral.