USDA releases report on foreign holdings of U.S. agricultural land

By Melissa Coon

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, July 21 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today released the latest report on foreign holdings of U.S. agricultural land. The report, “Foreign Holdings of U.S. Agricultural Land,” contains information regarding the 22.2 million acres of U.S. agricultural land in which foreign persons hold an interest.

This is an increase of 1,310,974 acres from 2008 and represents 1.7 percent of all privately held agricultural land in the United States,” read the report. The United States has a total land area of nearly 2.3 billion acres, according to the USDA.

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Some of the statistics highlighted in the report include:

  • A breakdown of agricultural land held by foreign persons by the type of acreage:

    • Forest land - 59 percent

    • Cropland - 14 percent

    • Pasture and other agricultural land - 27 percent

  • Countries with foreign persons holding the largest amount of agricultural and nonagricultural land include:

  • Canadians hold the largest amount of land: over 7.7 million acres, or 34 percent.

  • Foreign persons from the following three countries collectively hold more than 6.8 million acres, or 30 percent of the foreign held acres in the U.S.:

    • Netherlands, almost 3.9 million acres (17 percent),

    • United Kingdom, over 1.5 million acres (7 percent)

    • Germany, over 1.4 million acres (6 percent)

  • The states with the highest proportions of foreign owned agricultural land to all privately owned agricultural land:

  • Maine has the largest amount of foreign held U.S. agricultural land at 2.82 million acres, or 15.7 percent of the privately held agricultural land in the state.

  • In Hawaii, 8.8 percent of private agricultural land is foreign held.

  • Washington (7.6%), Nevada (5.2%), and Alabama (5.1%) have the next largest proportions of foreign held land.

The findings were based on information submitted from the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978.

To view the report: click here or go to:

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