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Foreign investment in U.S. farmland - the latest numbers

by Daniel Munch, Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation


Foreign investment in U.S. agricultural land is a hot topic, largely spurred by media reports raising concerns about bad actors from adversarial nations purchasing land for potentially hostile purposes.


Several questions arise when considering this issue. First and foremost, how much agricultural land in the U.S. is owned by foreign investors and from what countries do those investors hail?





Second, what kind of land do these foreign entities own? Productive cropland? Forestland? Or perhaps open space for energy production or other purposes?


Additionally, how have these numbers changed in recent years? While data exists to answer many of these questions, the quality of these data points has often been questioned, complicating our true understanding of how much U.S. ag land is owned by foreign investors and who they are.


This article summarizes the latest available data with some critiques of its quality.



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