Zhang interviewed on NPR

November 17, 2021

Wendong ZhangWendong Zhang, associate professor, was interviewed in a Nov. 16 NPR story, "A giant investment firm paid a university to study one of its biggest assets — farmland."

In addition to the impressive output of farmland research from the University of Illinois, there’s a reason the center was set up in Illinois, said Wendong Zhang, an associate professor of farmland economics at Iowa State University.

Unlike other Midwestern states including Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri, Illinois has no anti-corporate farming laws. Those statutes were passed in the 1970s to protect family farmers and limit absentee land ownership that TIAA-CREF invests in so heavily.

“That’s what makes Illinois more attractive,” Zhang said.

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