Foreign ownership of farmland up
USDA data shows foreign ownership of agricultural land is on the
rise. The Midwest Center for
Investigative Reporting dug into the details, and found foreign investors acquired more than 1.6 million
acres of U.S. agricultural land in 2016, the most recent year with data
available. The report claims 2016 had the
largest increase in more than a decade, and ag land ownership by Chinese
entities grew tenfold in less than a decade.
States like Iowa and Minnesota
have laws banning foreign ownership of farmland. Missouri changed its foreign ownership ban to
a limit of 1% in 2013 to allow a Chinese company to acquire Smithfield Foods
and its 146-thousand acres. Wisconsin
has a 640-acre limit per foreign owner, which has been in place for more than
The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting says the top five states
with foreign ownership of land based on USDA data are Maine, Texas, Alabama,
Washington, and Michigan.