Rural Economy Booming as Commodity Prices Soar

By: AP
By: AP

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Farmers across Kansas and the heartland once watched as their livelihoods withered under drought and market glut. Now they're cashing in on a rural economic boom driven by soaring commodity prices for the crops and oil that comes from their land.

Lane County grain grower Vance Ehmke said the farm business now is similar to a gold rush. Not only are farm incomes up, but oil drilling also is enjoying a renaissance. In Kansas, most wells are stripper wells with low production that in the past were often unprofitable to develop -- until now, amid skyrocketing gasoline prices.

From the vast winter wheat fields to the oil wells that dot the Kansas countryside, the nation's rural economy is basking in newfound prosperity. And now to make life even sweeter for growers is the $290 billion farm bill with new and bigger subsidies.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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