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3.4 million US acres bought by foreigners in 2022, report shows

Imperial Valley farmland relies on Colorado River water. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
December 20, 2023

New information released by the federal government shows that over 3.4 million acres of United States agricultural land was purchased by foreigners in 2022.

In a recent report, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) stated, “Foreign persons held an interest in over 43.4 million acres of U.S. agricultural land as of December 31, 2022. This is 3.4 percent of all privately held agricultural land and nearly 2 percent of all land in the United States.”

According to The Daily Wire, while foreign ownership of U.S. farmland has traditionally been minimal, the purchase of U.S. farmland by other countries has increased significantly over the past several years.

Noting the recent increase, the USDA wrote, “Foreign holdings of U.S. agricultural land increased modestly from 2012 through 2017, increasing an average of 0.6 million per year. Since 2017, foreign holdings have increased an average of nearly 2.9 million acres annually, ranging from 2.4 million acres to over 3.4 million acres per year.”

According to the USDA’s report, foreign entities purchased over half a million acres in Alabama and Colorado and almost half a million acres in Michigan. The report indicated that a third of the land was purchased by Canadian entities, with entities in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Italy also purchasing notable amounts of U.S. farmland.

“China held 349,442 acres, which is slightly less than 1 percent of foreign-held acres,” the report said. The USDA also noted, “There is considerable interest in this topic.”

READ MORE: Red state orders Chinese company to sell US farmland

The release of the USDA’s report comes just after Congress approved the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, which is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden. According to The Daily Wire, the final version of the bill removed amendments from both the House of Representatives and the Senate that would have made it harder for foreigners to purchase U.S. agricultural land.

While Congress ultimately moved away from the provisions that would have restricted the purchase of American farmland by foreign countries, The Daily Wire noted that concerns regarding the increase of foreign countries purchasing U.S. land have been raised by both Republicans and Democrats.

In a statement to The Daily Wire, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark) warned that the United States “can’t allow this to continue.”

“At best, this serves the interests of the companies and other countries, not America’s,” Cotton stated. “At worst, these purchases undermine our security.”

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) previously raised concerns regarding foreign countries, particularly China, purchasing U.S. farmland. During a Senate Committee on Agriculture meeting in September, Fetterman said, “I hope many of our colleagues agree, the Chinese government and other U.S. adversaries should own zero, zero agricultural land in our country.”