Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station
U.S. farm land foreign purchase ban

Noem back at legislature with ag land purchase ban

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s Governor, Kristi Noem, is taking decisive steps to safeguard the state’s agricultural interests. She is reviving a legislative effort aimed at redefining laws around foreign ownership of agricultural land. This initiative particularly focuses on preventing nationals from six specific countries from acquiring such land in South Dakota.

The state already has laws against foreign ownership of agricultural land, but these have seen limited enforcement. Last year, Noem supported a failed US House provision to restrict individuals and entities from China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia from purchasing agricultural land. Her renewed effort comes amid a perceived lack of action from Congress on this issue.

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Noem emphasized the importance of a proposed bill for national security, stating that it would restrict agricultural freedom to countries like China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela. Exceptions are made for research leases under 320 acres, but strict compliance requirements are in place.

A significant change in this year’s bill is the enforcement mechanism. The Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources will be responsible for identifying noncompliance and coordinating with the attorney general for necessary legal action. This approach differs from last year’s proposal, which would have given the governor direct control over such land transactions.

South Dakota’s agricultural groups have expressed the need for a thorough examination of this proposal. With the bill still pending, other lawmakers are considering a more studied approach, proposing to revisit the issue with detailed recommendations next year.

Governor Noem’s initiative reflects a growing concern over foreign influence in critical sectors like agriculture. It underscores the balancing act between maintaining an open economy and protecting national interests, especially in areas as vital as the food supply chain and national security.

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