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.

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).