Foreigners Snatch Up Farmland in the Heart of Trump Country
***Personally Thank President Trump***
According to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, foreign ownership of our most fertile soil has skyrocketed to 27.3 million acres – slightly larger than the state of Tennessee.
The Department of Agriculture estimates the value of that crop and pastureland has increased nearly threefold to $42.7 billion.
NPR and Ohio Farm Bureau's Ty Higgins explain why this development is raising alarm bells among President Trump's most steadfast supporters:
When the stock market tanked during the last recession, foreign investors began buying up big swaths of U.S. farmland. 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 even more American land will end up in foreign hands, especially in states with no restrictions on ownership. With the median age of U.S. farmers at 55, many face retirement with no prospect of family members willing to take over. The National Young Farmers Coalition anticipates that two-thirds of the nation's farmland will change hands in the next few decades.
While states like Ohio and Texas are a free-for-all for land ownership, others, like Iowa, severely restrict it. Foreign corporations own no land in the Hawkeye State.
Higgins says that this kind of consumption of farmland by foreign entities is starting to cause concern. "One of the main reasons that we're watching this ... is because once a foreign 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 over to something other than agriculture, is an acre of land that no longer produces food. That loss is felt from the state level all the way down to rural communities, where one in six Ohioans has ties to agriculture.
The money shipped overseas has exacerbated the worst economic crisis facing American farmers in 30 years.