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Hay Springs barn

Larry and Deborah Galyen have reconfigured unused buildings on their farm south of Hay Springs into a rustic venue for weddings, family reunions and more.

OMAHA — A monthly survey of rural bankers in parts of 10 Plains and Western states shows about one of every five expects an increase in farm loan defaults stemming from last month's devastative Midwest floods.

The Rural Mainstreet survey for April, released Thursday, shows the survey's overall index dropping from 52.9 in March to 50 this month. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says "43.8 percent of bank CEOs indicated that the recent floods were having a negative impact on their local economy."

Bankers also noted that farm loans for April surged as the borrowing index climbed to 81.3, the highest recorded since the survey began in 2006.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

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Night news editor

I am night news editor of the Lincoln Journal Star.

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