New government data shows that in 2020, foreigners purchased 3.4 million acres of agricultural property in the United States, increasing their ownership or leasing of roughly two percent of the total US landmass.
Due mainly to wind energy farms managed by foreign entities, international interest in American farmland has increased dramatically in the last few years. From 2012–2017, foreign ownership of agricultural land in the United States rose somewhat, rising by an average of 0.6 million acres annually. Foreign ownership has grown by an average of roughly 2.9 million acres yearly since 2017, with yearly increases ranging from 2.4 million to more than 3.4 million acres.
A total of 46,496 acres were under the hands of UAE citizens, 28,218 acres of Saudis, 17,645 acres of Egyptians, 2,463 acres of Syrians, 1,677 acres of Pakistanis, 848 acres of Cuban investors, and 73 acres of Russians. The “State of Palestine” was the name given to 11,381 acres by one company. Days before sending a military bill to the president, Congress withdrew measures meant to limit the practice, prompting the yearly report.
“The backbone of all U.S. military communications around the world” is an Air Force facility in North Dakota, and in 2022, a Chinese food producer named the Fufeng Group purchased 300 acres of land just 20 minutes away. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s leading Democrats and Republicans opposed the plan.
Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota proposed a measure to prohibit the purchase of agricultural property by Iran, North Korea, China, and Russia as an amendment to the military budget legislation this year. The Senate approved Amendment 91-7.
There has been widespread, nonpartisan anger about the prospect of selling one of the United States’ most valuable resources to other powers, even hostile nations like China. As Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas said, “We can’t allow this to continue.”
The tendency might worsen as many American farmers approach retirement age.