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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ere are two counties in this region with the highest concentration of foreign-owned farmland — more than 41,000 acres each. One of those is Paulding County, where three wind farms straddle the state line between Ohio and Indiana. Higgins says that this kind of con- sumption of farmland by foreign entities is starting to cause concern. "One of the main reasons that we're watching this … is because once a for- eign entity buys up however many acres they want, Americans might never be able to secure that land again. So, once we lose it, we may lose it for good." His other concern is that every acre of productive farmland that is converted to something other than agriculture is an acre of land that no longer produces food. at loss is felt from the state level all the way down to rural communities, where one in six Ohioans has ties to agriculture. A sixth-generation farmer, Angela Hu…man lives in Wyandot County, which, along with Paulding County, has more than 41,000 acres of for- eign-owned farmland. Her modest, two-story white farmhouse has been in her family for almost 200 years. Her grandfather was the last person to actively farm the land here. When he got out of farming due to declin- ing markets, none of his ˆve children wanted to take over, and the cropland is now leased. But Hu…man, a young millennial who lives here with her mother, wants to try to keep the farm going and revive her family heritage. As you walk out to the barn, a huge white Great Pyrenees dog watches over a small ‹ock of sheep. Hu…man says she's worried about the e…ects of foreign land ownership on her rural community — which she describes as similar to Walmart pushing local businesses out of the market. "Right out my back door here, Chinese-owned Smithˆeld Foods, the largest pork producer in the world, has recently bought out a couple grain eleva- tors," Hu…man says, pointing behind her house, "basi- cally extracting the wealth out of the community." To be fair, US farmers and corpora- tions also invest in overseas agriculture, owning billions of dollars of farmland from Australia to Brazil, but the Smith- ˆeld Food buyout has really raised concerns with American farmers. As part of that"2013 sale, a Chinese com- pany now owns 146,000 acres of prime US farmland. FrontGate POLICY The Smithfield Food buyout has really raised concerns with American farmers. 24 L ANDREP ORT.COM e LandReport | SPRING 20 19

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