Audit Notes: Farmland Booms, Regulation and Jobs, Euro Sell-off

The Wall Street Journal reports that farming is making something of a comeback on the edges of metro areas amid collapsing residential land values. This anecote is great:

Consider the England family, which recently repurchased 430 acres of cotton fields in Eloy, Ariz. In 2004, the Englands had paid $731,000 for the parcel about 65 miles southeast of Phoenix. The family then flipped the property in 2009 to a Milwaukee-based apartment builder for $8.6 million. Two months ago, the family, which had been leasing the land to grow cotton, bought back the farm out of foreclosure for $1.75 million.

Meantime, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports the Federal Reserve is worried about a bubble in farmland:

The Fed’s Beige Book, an anecdotal survey of economic conditions released on Sept. 7, reported that “farmland values rose further” in several districts even as “harsh summer weather strained agricultural activity.” The Kansas City Fed reported land values were 20 percent higher than a year ago. The Chicago Fed reported a 17 percent increase in its district, the fastest increase since the 1970s. Nonirrigated farmland in the Minneapolis Fed district increased 22 percent in price.

— The Washington Post pushes back on the notion that regulation kills jobs, noting that job losses are often offset elsewhere and the overall effect is “minimal”:

Economists who have studied the matter say that there is little evidence that regulations cause massive job loss in the economy, and that rolling them back would not lead to a boom in job creation.

Firms sometimes hire workers to help them comply with new rules. In some cases, more heavily regulated businesses such as coal shrink, giving an opportunity for cleaner industries such as natural gas to grow.

“Based on the available literature, there’s not much evidence that EPA regulations are causing major job losses or major job gains,” said Richard Morgenstern, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan think tank Resources for the Future who worked at the EPA starting under the Reagan administration and continuing into President Bill Clinton’s first term.

— The Financial Times leads its home page with this headline tonight:

Eurozone bonds hit by mass sell-off

Investor fears spread to core triple A countries

Italian bond yields jumped back up above 7 percent. French and Austrian yields rose to euro-era records over German bonds. Finnish, Spanish, and Dutch yields rose significantly.

Mike Riddell of M&G, one of Europe’s biggest fund managers, called it “probably the most worrying day” of the crisis so far.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,