The U.S. Government estimates that 2-3% of agricultural land in the United States is owned by a foreign entity. There is concern over increasing investment in U.S. farmland by counties like China, which could give rise to food security issues. Several senators have pushed to include the USDA on a federal board that monitors international investments in the U.S. to allow for additional scrutiny of foreign-owned food companies and farm land. Indiana is poised to join a number of other states who limit the number of acres a foreign entity can own.
Indiana Senate Bill 388 prevents foreign business entities from owning more than 320 acres of land in Indiana. The bill originally said that starting July 1 a “foreign business entity” could not acquire agricultural land in Indiana unless the land would be used for non-farming purposes. After pushback from several agricultural groups, the bill was amended to only pertain to land planted with crops, not land used for the raising of poultry or eggs, or as a dairy farm, or for grazing or for growing fruit “or other horticultural crops.” The ownership limitation also will not apply to agricultural land that is used for research or experimental purposes or for confined feeding operations. The bill imposes requirements on foreign business entities to report farmland acquisitions. Finally, in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Indiana Senate Bill 388 forbids any Russian owned business entity from acquiring any property in Indiana until at least the summer of 2023. The House and Senate passed the amended bill on March 8, 2022, so it is headed to the governor’s desk for signature.
Other states have similar limitations on foreign ownership of farmland (Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin, to name a few). Current federal law imposes no restrictions on the amount of private U.S. agricultural land that can be foreign owned. Federal law, however, requires foreign persons and entities to disclose to USDA information related to foreign investment and ownership of U.S. agricultural land.