USDA’s latest report on foreign-owned farmland in the United States shows foreign investors own less than two percent of all land in the country. Danny Munch, American Farm Bureau Federation Economist, says foreign owners of farmland are required to report their investments by the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act.
“USDA publishes the results from those reports from the two years prior. So, the most recent data we have is 2021 data. In 2021, 40 million acres, or 3.1 percent of all privately held agricultural land, was owned by foreign investors.”
Munch says Canadian investors own the largest portion of foreign held U.S. farmland.
“With almost a third of that, or .97 percent of all U.S. ag land. Following Canada, investors from the Netherlands own .37 percent of U.S. ag land, Italy .21 percent, the United Kingdom .19 and Germany .17. Those five countries make up over half of all U.S. ag land owned by foreign investors.”
While a lot of attention regarding foreign owned farmland is focused on China, the country ranks 18th with .03 percent of foreign investor held land.
“A way to look at this is about the size of a single average size county in Ohio. Almost half of all foreign owned ag land in United States is timberland. In states like Maine, Michigan, Alabama and Louisiana, over 85 percent of their foreign owned ag land is all forest land. And when we look at the types of companies, the leading investors are timber and paper companies and renewable energy companies investing in land for solar and wind projects.”
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