24 February 2013

More on Farmland Prices

I posted here  in late 2011 about the stunning rise in the price of farmland in Northwest Iowa. Nothing has changed. Even though 2012 was a year of significant drought in many places, the rise in commodity prices (which continues to be fueled by the immoral, government-subsidized practice of using corn (maize) for fuel) and what I believe is irrational speculation has driven farmland prices yet higher. Read the story from The Economist here.

All bubbles must burst (the housing market anyone?), which is what happened the most recent time there was a comparable run-up on Midwestern land prices. If this phenomenon doesn't cool off quickly, a lot of folks will be Leaving Iowa.

I have a personal attachment to a particular part of the Midwest (indeed, a particular county in Northwest Iowa) that has seen some of the greatest increases in land prices. Folks there need to remember that there is an implicit moral anthropology of all human endeavors as my remarks at yesterday's Contracts conference argued. And one aspect of that moral anthropology is gratitude. The fecundity of the soil of a place is not something for which any human being can take credit. The buyers and sellers of Midwestern farmland should bear this in mind (here).

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