Mike Walsten has covered major business trends in agriculture for more than 35 years. From the southern corn leaf blight of 1970 to today's biofuels focus, he''s lived, reported and analyzed the impact of volatile markets on farm and ranch businesses and on land prices. After growing up on a grain and livestock farm in Western Illinois, Mike graduated from the University of Illinois with an undergraduate degree in agriculture communications and a master''s degree in business administration in the early 1970s. Since then he''s covered business and management issues as well as price outlook and marketing issues in various positions with Farm Journal Magazine and Professional Farmers of America. He now applies his extensive background and analytical skills to today's surprising farm and ranch market as editor of LandOwner.
Creighton University's Rural MainStreet Index rises in December while its farmland index weakens.
The slight gains in land values come as the bankers report farm financial conditions continue to decline in the region.
Midwest bankers say farmland values declined 4% over the past year.