By Julie Tomascik
Congress lawmakers seek to crack down on foreign purchases of U.S. farmland
In late June, the House Appropriations Committee voted in favor of language that would ban companies from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran from buying US farmland.
The provision, authored by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Washington), was included in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Drug Administration funding bill. The bill was passed by committee members for floor debate in a 31-26 vote.
“More needs to be done to ensure that America’s food supply chain is secure and independent,” Newhouse said.
House lawmakers have warned that China’s presence in the US food system poses a national security risk, and this is the second year lawmakers have added language that would prevent China from acquiring more farmland. Americans.
“We agreed to include additional opponents to the Basic Amendment this year given the horrific events in Ukraine at the hands of Russia and the Putin regime,” Newhouse said during the committee’s three-hour markup on the USDA-FDA bill. “As many members of this committee know, China, Russia, North Korea and Iran are not our allies.”
Who owns land in the United States?
According to a report According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), foreign investors owned 37.6 million acres, or 2.9% of U.S. farmland, both forest and farmland, at the end of 2020.
Of the 27.6 million acres, forests accounted for 46%. About 29% of foreign-owned land was cropland, and pasture and other agricultural land accounted for 23%.
According to the report, Texas has the largest area of farmland owned by foreigners at more than 4.7 million acres. Maine has the second largest land area at just over 3.5 million acres, and Alabama comes third at 1.8 million acres.
The states with the largest increases in acres of farmland owned by foreigners in 2020 were Oklahoma with an increase of nearly 383,600 acres. Texas saw an increase of approximately 287,000 acres and Colorado an increase of more than 286,000 acres.
These three states combined recorded 39% of the overall acreage increase between 2019 and 2020.
To see the number of acres owned by foreigners by county in Texas as of December 2020, see pages 97-103 of this report.