Heartland Institute Director Makes Bold Predictions

Heartland Institute Director Makes Bold Predictions

Land prices aren't going to decline more than 10%, corn won't fall below $5 and North Dakota will find it has more oil than Saudi Arabia.

Land prices aren't going to decline more than 10%.

Corn prices won't fall below $5 per bushel.

Oil companies will find there's more oil in North Dakota than in Saudi Arabia.

Jay Lehr – an economist, futurist and senior fellow and science director at Heartland Institute (a conservative/libertarian think tank) -- made these and other predictions in a fiery, enthusiastic speech at the recent North Dakota Corn CornVention in Fargo.

Lehr's fans say he has a deep understanding of energy, agricultural and environmental sectors. Lehr holds a degree in Geological Engineering from Princeton and has a PhD in Environmental Science from the University of Arizona.

Lehr has his critics, mostly on the left. One blogger writes that he is a "charlatan."

"The Bakken oil field in North Dakota will be recognized soon as the biggest oil field in the world, "bigger than Saudi Arabia," Lehr said at the North Dakota corn convention. "You (North Dakota) are going to be the oil capital of the U.S. The good times are going to roll."

Ag land prices will stay high, he said. There's no bubble like in real estate because farmers have been paying cash for land. "The most reduction we'll see in land price is 10%. Land will always be an outstanding investment."

Corn prices won't go below $5 per bushel even if the U.S. farmers plant 95 million acres of corn, the growing season weather is good and yields are above average. The price won't go below $5 per bushel because when it gets down to $5 bushel China will begin buying corn, he predicted.

There's no reason to be worried that China's recent military saber rattling will hurt ag trade with the U.S.

"China is not going to eat our lunch. We are going to be serving them lunch for the rest your and your children's lives."

But, Greece is going to default on its debt within one to three years, he predicted. Italy and Spain will likely follow. The European Union will break up.

Lehr devoted part of his presentation to one of his favorite topics, global warming. He says it isn't happening.

The globe is actually cooling.

"If you want to worry about the weather, worry about the next ice age," he said.

Human activities have a limited impact on weather, he said.

"It's arrogant that we think we [humans] can have an affect, he says.

And increasing carbon dioxide levels are actually a good thing. It increases plant growth.

He said that former Vice President and global warming advocate Al Gore "has been scamming us."

Beside speaking, writing and doing films about global warming, he owns a company that sells sells carbon credits so people and companies can reduce their carbon footprint. Lehr said Gore has made $400 million on global warming.

"My greatest hope is that Al Gore ends up in the cell next to Bernie Madoff" – a Wall Street fund manager found guilty of defrauding investors.

Lehr predicted that renewable fuel industry will collapse as the U.S. discovers it has vast oil reserves in North Dakota.

Wind turbines will eventually be shut down and abandoned, left to be nothing more than "some fabulous outdoor sculptures," he said.

Solar power will fade, too, because it is impractical and too expensive.

Ethanol will no longer be made, he told audience of corn growers.

Ethanol is okay, he said, but it just isn't necessary.

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