3 Million Acres of U.S. Farmland Now Under Foreign Ownership

American Farmland In FOREIGN Hands - Who Allowed THIS?!

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In the year 2020, foreign investors gained control of more than three million acres of American farmland, representing close to two percent of the total land in the United States. Current data from the government indicates that these lands are now under the ownership or lease of individuals from other countries.

According to a recently published report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as of December 31, 2022, foreign entities have shown interest in more than 40 million acres of American farmland. 

This signifies a notable rise of 3.4 million acres compared to the previous year, constituting 3.4 percent of privately owned farmland and nearly 2 percent of the overall land in the United States.

Over the past few years, there has been a notable uptick in the interest of foreign nations in American farmland, primarily propelled by the establishment of wind energy farms under foreign management. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) observes that the ownership of U.S. agricultural land by foreign entities witnessed a modest rise from 2012 to 2017.

Nevertheless, starting from 2017, there has been a consistent increase in foreign holdings at an average annual rate of almost 2.9 million acres. Among the nations with the most substantial land holdings are Saudi Arabia, Russia, Egypt, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and Pakistan.

There is a growing bipartisan concern, particularly after Congress eliminated provisions addressing foreign land acquisitions in a recent defense bill. Heightened worries about national security have emerged, especially following the acquisition of 300 acres near a critical Air Force base in North Dakota by a Chinese food manufacturer.

Efforts were made to limit Russia, North Korea, Iran, and China from purchasing farmland, leading to the Senate passing an amendment to the Defense Funding Act. Regrettably, these provisions were excluded from the final text of the bill, prompting additional concerns.

Allowing foreign nations, including potential adversaries such as China, to procure American farmland raises substantial apprehensions regarding national security and the well-being of American farmers. With a growing number of farmers nearing retirement age, there is a mounting risk that this pattern will intensify. The Senate Committee on Agriculture held a hearing on this issue, during which one senator emphasized the viewpoint that agricultural land in the United States should not be owned by U.S. adversaries.

The increasing pattern of foreign entities acquiring U.S. farmland raises apprehensions regarding food security, environmental consequences, and national security. Despite measures taken to address this matter, further action is imperative to ensure the effective management of foreign land ownership, safeguarding U.S. interests.

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