June 5, 2023
At a Glance
- Interest by federal and state lawmakers to restrict and monitor foreign ownership has increased significantly
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey last week signed House Bill 379, the Alabama Property Protection Act. The bill was sponsored by Representative Scott Stadthagen in the House and carried by Senator David Sessions in the Senate.
About the signing of the bill, Ivey issued a statement March 31:
“Across the United States, we have seen alarming instances of foreign entities purchasing large tracts of land, which could have severe consequences for our country’s national defense and economy, if no action is taken,” said Ivey. “From our forests to our farmland, Alabama is blessed with an abundance of highly valuable natural resources that must be protected. We also have a large military presence, and Alabama will always do our part to put the security of our country and our people first. The simple fact of the matter is that foreign governments have no business owning land in Alabama, and I am proud to sign this bill and ensure that will never be the case going forward.”
According to a recent article by the National Agriculture Law Center, foreign ownership of agricultural land has grown over the last decade. As a result, interest by federal and state lawmakers to restrict and monitor foreign ownership has increased significantly.
Approximately 21 states have laws that seek to restrict to some degree foreign ownership or investments in private agricultural land within the boundaries of their state, according to the center.
Currently, states that have a law prohibiting or restricting foreign ownership and investments in private farmland include Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Georgia, Maryland, and New Jersey have enacted statutes that permit foreign persons to purchase or hold real estate within their state to some degree. However, these states’ laws condition land ownership rights on certain factors.
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