FP Next

Tune in as Farm Progress editors Curt Arens and Sarah McNaughton dive into all aspects of the agriculture industry from the field to the feedlot, and pasture to policy.

Dakota Farmer

Ep. 10: It’s not just the farmer down the road buying land; media and business moguls, companies, and even China are making significant purchases. What does that mean for you?

16 Min Listen

There is a lot of talk in farm circles and rural coffee shops these days about foreign ownership of U.S. farmland, especially by our adversaries. State legislatures around the country and our own U.S. Congress are addressing these issues. Even domestically, it is interesting to look at the largest landowners in the U.S., how that land was acquired and who is looking for more acres and why.

In this edition of Farm Files, Sarah and Curt talk about land ownership issues, and what they are seeing in their own backyards. Is Bill Gates the biggest owner of farmland in the U.S.? What foreign interests are most invested in U.S. farmland? What are state legislatures and Congress doing that might impact land ownership domestically, or even how family farm corporations are reporting their land holdings? These issues and more are tackled in this Farm Files episode of FP Next, powered by John Deere.

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About the Author(s)

Sarah McNaughton

Editor, Dakota Farmer, Farm Progress

Sarah McNaughton of Bismarck, N.D., has been editor of Dakota Farmer since 2021. Before working at Farm Progress, she was an NDSU 4-H Extension agent in Cass County, N.D. Prior to that, she was a farm and ranch reporter at KFGO Radio in Fargo.

McNaughton is a graduate of North Dakota State University, with a bachelor’s degree in ag communications and a master’s in Extension education and youth development.

She is involved in agriculture in both her professional and personal life, as a member of North Dakota Agri-Women, Agriculture Communicators Network Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority Alumni and Professional Women in Agri-business. As a life-long 4-H’er, she is a regular volunteer for North Dakota 4-H programs and events.

In her free time, she is an avid backpacker and hiker, and can be found most summer weekends at rodeos around the Midwest.

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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