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Foreigners Holding U.S. Ag Acreage Due to Report

Foreigners Holding U.S. Ag Acreage Due to Report

USDA calls for registrations to avoid stiff fines.

If you are not a U.S. citizen but have farmland holdings in this country, your registration with USDA is required within three months after transactions.

Farm Service Agency offices in the West issued the call for registration of all foreigners holding U.S. farmlands with the USDA.

"Any foreign person who acquires, transfers or holds any interest, other than a security interest, including leaseholds of 10 years or more, in agricultural land in the United States is required by law to report the transaction no later than 90 days after the date of the transaction," explains Montana FSA State Director Bruce Nelson.

Foreigner ownership of U.S. farms must be reported to the USDA.

Foreign investors are required to complete an FSA-153 Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act Report with the FSA office which maintains reports for the county in which the land is located, he adds. The FSA-153 form is available at FSA offices, or can be downloaded online.

Failure to comply, or filing late, or filing an inadequate report can result in a penalty with fines up to 25% of the fair market  value of the agricultural land, warns Nelson.

The AFIDA describes agricultural land as any property used for farming, ranching, orchards, vineyards or timber production on tracts of 10 acres or more.

Disclosure reports must also be filed if there are changes in how the land used. For example, reports are required when use of the land changes from non-agricultural to agricultural, or if the farm land is changed to non-agricultural use.

Foreign investors must also file a report when there is a change in the status of ownership of the land, such as when the owner changes from foreign to non-foreign, from non-foreign to foreign, or from one foreign country to a different foreign nation.

Data from the disclosures will be used to prepare an annual report to the President of Congress concerning the effect of such holdings upon family farms and rural communities in the United States.

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