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TIAA-CREF — the big teachers insurance fund — sees profits in farmland, Barron’s reports. 

The company now has $2 billion in farmland in the U.S., Australia and elsewhere. Agricultural investing is “an evolving and emerging asset class,” says Jose Minaya, managing director for natural resources.

Minaya says farmland has returned a steady 8% to 12%, despite ups and downs in crop prices.

• The Washington Post reports that Brazilian scientists are turning their country into an “agro-power.” Interestingly, the transformation of an area of the country with poor soil into a new breadbasket stemmed from research and innovation paid for by the Brazilian government. 

It used to be that American ag research was the envy of the world. Now people visit the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corp.

• The Renewable Fuels Association is arguing that increased use of corn to make fuel is not the prime cause of the rise in corn prices. They contend that speculation has driven up the cost of corn. 

• Ike Skelton of Missouri represents one of the more rural congressional districts in the country. He has served 17 terms. Now Skelton is facing one of his toughest re-election battles, according to the Kansas City Star

Skelton, a Democrat, is running against Republican Vicky Hartzer, above. Her pitch is simple: “We have so many people in Washington removed from rural America,” Hartzler said recently in Richmond, Mo. “Ike’s lost touch.”

Skelton’s district is one of the most Republican in the nation, yet Skelton has always carried more than 55% of the vote. 

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