There’s no federal measure against foreign ag land ownership, but changes could be on the way

Foreign ag land ownership and efforts to limit, or stop it altogether, have been a big topic in the ag community. Those efforts are still going strong.

This year alone, 32 states have proposed legislation aimed at limiting foreign ag land ownership, but each one was written differently, and depending on how it is structured, it can have a big impact on producers. So far, Utah is the only state to propose legislation and have it signed into law by the governor.

The National Cotton Council points out there is nothing at the federal level restricting foreign ownership, but given how many states are moving in that direction, it could appear in future legislation.

“There’s been some question about whether there will be an activity like this at the federal level. Currently, there’s no federal law related to restricting foreign ag land ownership. There is a statute called FETA that requires reporting, so if someone purchases ag land and they’re a foreign company or individual, they have to file paperwork and notify the federal government, but there’s no law prohibiting that. Certainly, I think that’s something we could see come up in the coming session,” said Tiffany Dowell Lashmet.

Just recently, the Farm Service Agency announced data on foreign ag land ownership is not accurate, largely because many transactions are not reported. The agency wants to make changes to the reporting system so the information will be easily accessible by the general public.