As foreign investment in U.S. farmland grows, efforts to ban and limit the increase mount

Foreign investors acquired at least 1.6 million acres of U.S. agricultural land in 2016, the largest increase in more than a decade, according to the latest available federal data.

The latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that foreign investors control 28.3 million acres, valued at $52.2 billion. That area is about the size of the state of Ohio.

USDA fails to monitor foreign owners of farmland

Since 2011, the USDA has only assessed 10 fines under AFIDA, worth $115,724, according to records obtained by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting through the Freedom of Information Act.  And no fines were assessed in 2015, 2016 or so far in 2017.

Foreign investment in U.S. farmland on the rise

Over the past decade, foreign companies have been investing in agricultural land in the United States at a record pace, according to a Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting analysis of USDA data. The data was compiled from 1900 to 2014 under the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA).