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Hoosier Perspectives: House Bill 1183 is a piece of the puzzle needed to save Indiana farmland. Web highlights (3):

Allison Lund

March 25, 2024

3 Min Read
A cornfield being harvested
GOOD MOVE: The newly passed House Bill 1183 is a move in the right direction toward protecting Indiana’s farmland. However, more still needs to be done to keep undesirable parties from purchasing our land that is needed to feed a growing population. Allison Lund

Competing for farmland is difficult enough with low commodity prices, high input costs and a variety of interested farmers across the state, but foreign buyers have multiplied the issue. Investors in foreign nations should not be buying up prime land that Indiana farmers could use to grow their crops.

The end of the 2024 Indiana legislative session marked a new part of the solution to this problem. House Bill 1183, which prevents foreign adversaries from purchasing Indiana farmland, just passed unanimously in the Senate.

Bill language

The nations of Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Iran are considered adversaries of the U.S. The newly passed bill explains that people and companies from these countries are not allowed to purchase Indiana farmland. Those from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are also prohibited from purchasing land near military bases in the state.

This new legislation will take effect July 1, and will be enforced by the attorney general. There is also wording to clear up confusion for companies owned by those listed foreign adversaries that have locations in Indiana. Simply put, they can keep their purchased land in the state, but they will not be able to buy more farmland.

Additionally, publicly traded companies that purchase Indiana farmland cannot have any of the listed foreign adversaries as majority owners.

Step in right direction

This is not the entire solution to protecting Indiana farmland, but it is a solid piece of the puzzle. To fully preserve our farmland and ensure there is fair competition for the farmers who reside here, there needs to be more regulations in place to prevent any foreign nations from swooping in and picking up land.

How can farmers compete with investment groups that pool money from investors and nab up hundreds of acres like it’s no big deal? At least this new legislation prevents our foreign adversaries from doing that, but what about groups based in the U.S.? And what about billionaires and celebrities taking their pick of parcels across the nation?

I don’t think we’ll ever be able to fully prevent undesirable parties from purchasing our farmland; it’s too easy for people to find loopholes that allow them to get what they want. However, more legislation like this could help us work toward a more comprehensive solution.

Putting a message out

To be completely honest, I did not know that this issue of foreign adversaries purchasing our state’s farmland was as prevalent as it is. It was one of those things I was aware of, and I can see how it could go unnoticed.

If anything, this new legislation will send the message that we do notice this issue, and we are going to work to take control of it. With organizations like Indiana Farm Bureau supporting House Bill 1183, which is now law, I have hope that there is a large following that wants to put an end to all foreign nations and investor groups buying up our farmland. Hopefully, we will see more legislation like this in the future.

About the Author(s)

Allison Lund

Allison Lund is a staff writer for Indiana Prairie Farmer. She graduated from Purdue University with a major in agricultural communications and a minor in crop science. She served as president of Purdue’s Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow chapter. In 2022, she received the American FFA Degree. 

Lund grew up on a cash grain farm in south-central Wisconsin, where the primary crops were corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. Her family also raised chewing tobacco and Hereford cattle. She spent most of her time helping with the tobacco crop in the summer and raising Boer goats for FFA projects. 

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