Ag secretary addresses concerns over foreign ownership of U.S. farmland at Commodity Classic

At the recent Commodity Classic, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture took the stage to address these concerns head-on, offering insights on foreign farmland ownership.

Increasing foreign ownership of farmland real estate has become a topic of frequent discussion within the agricultural community, sparking conversations and concerns among farmers nationwide. At the recent Commodity Classic held in Houston, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) shed light on this complex issue, emphasizing the need for a nuanced approach to address it.

Secretary Vilsack delved into the topic during his address at the event, highlighting the intricacies involved in navigating foreign ownership of agricultural land. While acknowledging that the extent of foreign ownership, particularly by China, is relatively small – accounting for less than one-tenth of one percent of total U.S. land mass – he underscored the importance of considering the locations of such land holdings, particularly concerning their proximity to military installations.

“Ownership of foreign land by China is relatively small. It’s less than 1/10th of 1% of the entire land mass of the US. There are concerns about the location of where that land might be owned, especially if it is connected to or near a military installation,” Secretary Vilsack remarked during his speech at the Commodity Classic.

In addition to addressing concerns about foreign ownership, Secretary Vilsack emphasized the significance of safeguarding the transparency of land transactions. He stressed that protecting the country’s ability to monitor and track land purchases by foreign buyers is crucial, likening it in importance to preserving China as a key export market for U.S. agricultural products.

Secretary Vilsack also says protecting our capacity to know who and when land is being purchased by foreign buyers is just as important as preserving China as our nation’s top AG export market, highlighting the need for robust oversight and transparency in land transactions.

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