CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, February 5, 2016

  • Iowa farmers have seen shrinking profits on some patches of corn and soybeans land and may soon start looking for new uses, according to an Ames Tribune story about Iowa State University agronomy research.
  • In related news – and a stretch for a new angle on Donald Trump’s stated future real estate desires – the International Business Times has a story saying that Iowa farm owners “could use some help” via a future Trump farm purchase. The story includes a lot of price figures from the 1980s and cites some more recent declines in farmland values, while only briefly acknowledging that land prices hit “a historic peak” in 2013.
  • Factory activity fell in both China and the U.S. in January, according to an AP story that ran in the S. News & World Report, among other places. It was the fourth straight month of U.S. decline, as measured by the Institute for Supply Management.
  • If you’re interested in the Internet of Things, Forbes has an article on a new study from the MPI Group. The lead point is that most manufacturers surveyed think it’s going to be a key factor on their businesses over the next five years, yet 24 percent of respondents “have no company-wide understanding of IoT.”
  • CNBC has a story about mid-size manufacturers who appear to be thriving by “shying away from cookie-cutter goods and services, and instead finding niche markets and opportunities to export high-end innovation to”
  • Meanwhile, a Des Moines Business Record story earlier this week cited December numbers from an Iowa Department of Revenue index that had reached “lows not seen since 2009.” This, according to the paper, is evidence of “an overall decline that portends a softening of the economy.”

That’s it. Thanks for reading.

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