The Land Report

2019.1

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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J OSH UA RO B ERTS / R EUTERS FrontGate A merican soil. ose are two words that are commonly used to stir up patriotic feel- ings. ey are also words that can't be taken for granted, because today nearly 30 million acres of US farmland are held by foreign investors. at number has doubled in the past two decades, which is raising alarm bells in farming communities. When the stock market tanked dur- ing the past recession, foreign investors began buying up big swaths of US farm- land. And because there are no federal restrictions on the amount of land that can be foreign owned, it's been left up to individual states to decide on any limitations. It's likely that more American land will end up in foreign hands, especially in states with no ownership restrictions. With the median age of US farmers at 55, many face retirement with no prospect of family members willing to take over. e National Young Farmers Coalition anticipates that two-thirds of the nation's farmland will change hands in the next few decades. "Texas is kind of a free-for-all, so they don't have a limit on how much land can be owned," says Ohio Farm Bureau's Ty Higgins. "You look at Iowa and they restrict it — no land in Iowa is owned by a foreign entity." Ohio, like Texas, also has no restric- tions on foreign ownership, and nearly half a million acres of prime farmland are held by foreign-owned entities. In the northwestern corner of the state, below Toledo, companies from the Netherlands alone have purchased 64,000 acres for wind farms. American Soil Is Increasingly Foreign Owned e 2013 acquisition of SMITHFIELD FOODS by WH Group included ownership of 146,000 acres of prime US farmland that now belong to the Chinese company. By Renee Wilde/WYSO P O L I C Y P O L I C Y | E S S E N T I A L S | T O P T E N | L A N D T O T A B L E | E V E N T S GETTING GRILLED Smithfield Foods CEO Larry Hill testifed before the Senate Agriculture Committee in 2013 after China's largest pork producer announced it was buying the company. The sale was approved. 23 L ANDREP ORT.COM SPRING 20 19 | e LandReport

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