OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new survey of rural bankers suggests that growth in farmland prices, cash rents and farm equipment sales remain strong despite the continuing threat of drought in some Midwestern and northern Plains states.

A report on the Rural Mainstreet Index released Thursday says the index hit 55.6 in January, down from 60.6 in December. It is the index’s fourth straight month above growth neutral.

READ MORE: During Resentencing Of Mohamed Noor, Judge Asks: What Changes Have Been Made To Minneapolis Police?

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the region’s rural economy is still expanding at a moderate pace and that farm communities “appear to have shed the negative impacts of the 2012 drought.”

READ MORE: 'Really Disgusting And Elaborate': Alleged Sex Competition Prompts Protest, Investigation At Minnesota College

The index ranges from 0 to 100, with 50 representing growth neutral. It’s based on a survey of rural bankers in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

MORE NEWS: Mohamed Noor Resentenced To 57 Months For Manslaughter In Justine Ruszczyk Damond’s Shooting Death

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)