Friday, February 25 2011
While the Midwest has been battered in recent years by manufacturing job losses and price drops in residential and commercial properties, farmland has become a bright spot in Midwest real estate.
Investors in Corn Belt farmland saw a 14 percent return last year on the land, which includes appreciation and income from renting it to farmers, according to the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries.
As the agricultural economy continues to thrive, farmers are having less incentive to sell, which is creating a low supply of land that is high in demand.
"Prices continue to increase due in part to the limited supply," says Randall Pope, chief executive officer of the Westchester Group Inc., which manages farm tracts. "There are a number of people who would like to buy these days but there isn't a lot of product on the market."
For example, investors bid up prices in an auction last month for 120-acres of farmland in Greene County, Iowa. The winning bid offered $8,200 an acre--nearly $1 million, which was 44 percent higher than the $5,701 per-acre estimate for average values in the county.
Sheila Bair, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp chairperson, warned in October that a bubble may be forming in farmland real estate. But that hasn’t seemed to turn away investors.
Analysts predict farmland prices will continue to climb. Values in Iowa, which is the largest corn and soybean-growing state, climbed 16 percent in 2010 and are expected to increase another 10 percent this year if commodities remain at current levels.
Source: “Value of Midwest Farmland Climbs,” Bloomberg News (Feb. 21, 2011)
Sunday, August 23 2009
Ivy Tech Community College says it has a record fall enrollment and is still signing up as many as 2,000 students a day.
Some students are having trouble getting into classes they want or need to take. The school says those still planning to enroll for fall semester can get on waiting lists for courses, decide to take a class at another Ivy Tech campus or choose classes that start later in the semester.
Ivy Tech says a record 106,000 students are already enrolled in campuses across the state. That’s a 24 percent increase over last year’s fall semester and more students are still registering.
Classes start Monday at Ivy Tech campuses across Indiana.
Sunday, August 23 2009
We don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl yet, but a zebra has been born at Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden and is on display with its parents in the zoo’s lower zebra area.
Zoo spokeswoman Charlotte Roesner said the foal's birth occurred early Thursday.
She said zookeepers won’t be able to examine the young zebra for several days, giving the animal time to bond with its mother.
And until they know the gender, they aren’t tossing out names.
“Sometimes the zookeeper who discovers (the birth) gets to name the baby and sometimes the zoo staff comes up with one,” said Roesner.
In the meantime, she said the youngster “is up and running around and nursing off its mother.”
Zebra foals typically weigh about 55 pounds at birth and are a fuzzy, light-brown color, with the black stripes coming later, said Roesner.
The baby’s 25-year-old mother is named Press after the city’s evening newspaper which closed in the late 1990s; the 21-year-old father is Courier in honor of the morning daily.
This brings the zoo’s zebra population to five.
The West Side attraction is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (entry gates close at 4 p.m.)
Admission is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for ages 3-12, with Vanderburgh County residents receiving a $1 discount.
Visit http://www.meskerparkzoo.com for more information.
Sunday, August 23 2009
The newly released U.S. News & World Report's "Best Colleges" data lists the University of Evansville 10th among master's-granting institutions in the Midwest.
UE comes in second on a list of best values in the Midwest, trailing only Creighton University, and sixth in a "strong commitment to teaching" list for the region.
"Ranking where we did in each category, among 142 eligible institutions, is just one of the many indicators confirming our success in maintaining the highest academic quality at the University of Evansville," UE President Stephen Jennings said.
The magazine measures academic quality by using the assessments of administrators at peer institutions, student graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.
In a nationwide list of best universities, the top 10 consist of Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, California Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Duke and the University of Chicago.
Notre Dame comes in 29th on that list, while Illinois is 40th, Purdue is 66th, Indiana is 71st and Kentucky is 116th.
Purdue is 22nd and IU 29th on a nationwide list of public universities, and IU's Kelley School of Business is rated the 12th-best business program.
Like Jennings, leaders at IU and Purdue were quick to tout their positions in the magazine's report.
IU Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson said that magazine rankings "tell only a small part of the story, and their importance is often overemphasized.
But U.S. News performs a service by highlighting programs that are linked to student success, such as our student learning communities, study-abroad opportunities and the emphasis on writing."
Purdue University President France A. Cordova said the rankings "reflect our continued commitment to the student experience."
On a regional list of top master's-granting universities in the South, Murray State University is 18th, while Western Kentucky University is 29th.
The "Best Colleges" rankings are available today at http://www.usnews.com/colleges and will be published in the September issue of U.S. News & World Report, available Monday.