INDIANAPOLIS (NETWORK INDIANA) — A bill that will soon be reviewed by the Indiana Senate is one that would limit ownership of Hoosier farmland by foreign entities.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said foreign ownership of U.S. land is up 40% since 2016. As of 2022, more than 438,000 acres in Indiana were owned by foreign entities.
State Representative Kendell Culp of Rensselaer wrote the bill. He says these numbers keep going up. Culp says he has concerns about security for both food and agriculture.
“Indiana is one of the top producing agricultural states in the country and we need to protect our critical farmland and our control over our food supply. We learned many lessons during the pandemic, including the importance of maintaining our ability to grow and produce things here at home. Hoosier farmland is an indispensable asset to our state and nation, and this legislation is a strong step toward keeping it that way,” said Culp.
If the bill becomes law, Indiana would be the 25th state to limit ownership of farmland by foreign entities. The ban would not apply to every country, but only those identified as “foreign adversaries.” The list of foreign adversaries maintained by the U.S. Department of Commerce includes China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, and Iran.
Culp’s bill says individuals, businesses, LLC’s or government agencies from any foreign adversary would be prohibited from owning or leasing Indiana farmland and from leasing mineral and water rights in the Hoosier state.
Also, if a foreign adversary manages to buy farmland by presenting a false affidavit, the bill provides a legal mechanism for the land to be seized by a court. An affidavit conforming the purchaser is not a foreign adversary or working with a country that is considered a foreign adversary would also need to be provided at the real estate closing of agricultural land.
A little more than 2% of Indiana farmland is owned or leased by foreign entities and nearly 80% of that is cropland.
It passed the House earlier in February.