Date of this Version
Van Tassell, L. “How Much of Nebraska Ag Land is Owned by Foreign Entities?” CAP Series 23-1101, Center for Agricultural Profitability, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nov. 2, 2023. DOI: 10.32873/unl.dc.cap020.
The Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1973 (AFIDA) established a mandatory reporting system, overseen by the USDA, that requires foreign entities to provide information on all U.S. agricultural and non-agricultural land in which they hold an interest. “Interest” is reported as a fee interest (legal possession of both the surface and mineral rights), partial fee interest (must state percent ownership), life estate, trust beneficiary, purchase contract, or other. “Other” includes leases that are 10-years or longer. The regulations exempt foreign entities with interests solely in mineral rights and leases of less than 10 years in duration from reporting. In this report, the terms “owner” and “ownership” will refer to all types of interest held by the foreign entity, including long-term leases.
According to the most recent AFIDA report, foreign investment in agricultural lands has increased over the past decade. As of December 31, 2021, just over 30 million acres (3.1%) of agricultural land in the U.S. was held by foreign entities. Texas has the distinction of having the most acreage held by foreign entities (almost 5.3 million acres or 3.4% of Texas’ acreage) but Maine holds the number one spot for the highest percentage of agricultural land held by foreigners (3.6 million acres equating to 20.1% of Maine’s acreage). Canada holds the largest percentage of Maine’s foreign-held acreage for the purpose of timber production (Foreign Ownership and Holdings of U.S. Agricultural Land, 2023).