Foreign Ownership of U. S. Farmland

Foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land. (1980) (AER447)

Foreign ownership of U. S. agricultural land remained relatively steady from 1981 through 1995 -- slightly above or below 1 percent of the privately owned agricultural land in the United States.

At the end of 1995, foreign persons owned 15.1 million acres -- slightly more than 1 percent of the 1.3 billion acres of privately owned U. S. agricultural land (farm and forest land).

Forest land accounts for 49 percent of all foreign-owned acreage, cropland for 16 percent, pasture and other agricultural land for 32 percent, and nonagricultural land for 3 percent.

Corporations own 72 percent of the foreign-held acreage, partnerships own 20 percent, and individuals own 6 percent. The remaining 2 percent is held by estates, trusts, institutions, associations, and others.

About 56 percent of the reported foreign holdings involve land actually owned by U. S. corporations. The law requires them to register their land holdings as foreign if as little as 10 percent of their stock is held by foreign investors. The remaining 44 percent of the foreign-held land is owned by investors not affiliated with U. S. firms.

A total of 63 percent of foreign-held acreage is owned by investors (including individuals, corporations, partnerships, etc.) from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands Antilles, and the British Virgin Islands (in descending rank order). Japanese investors own only 3 percent of foreign-owned acreage.

Maine is the State with the largest number of acres (2,968,434) owned by foreign persons. Foreign holdings in Maine account for 16 percent of that Statesís privately owned agricultural land and 20 percent of all the reported foreign-owned agricultural land nationwide. Four companies own 91 percent of the foreign-held acres in Maine, almost all in forest land. Two of these companies are Canadian, one is French, and the fourth is a U. S. corporation that is partially Canadian owned.

Outside of Maine, foreign holdings are concentrated in the West and South, containing 34 and 32 percent, respectively, of all reported foreign holdings of U. S. agricultural land.

These findings are based on reports submitted to USDA under the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978.

Country Number of Acres

Argentina 12,578

Australia 6,106

Austria 29,336

Bahamas 36,325

Bahrain 313

Belgium 65,586

Belize 549

Bermuda 73,835

Bolivia 11

Brazil 10,336

British Virgin Islands 124,062

Canada 1,571,341

Cayman Islands 39,028

Chile 2,055

China 924

Colombia 11,414

Costa Rica 13,835

Croatia 1,023

Cuba 58

Czech Republic 347

Denmark 12,948

Dominican Republic 2,108

Ecuador 971

Egypt 2,076

El Salvador 128

France 128,663

Gambia 294

Germany 753,530

Greece 60,491

Guatemala 1,102

Guyana 35

Honduras 1,018

Hong Kong 15,061

Hungary 103

India 1,754

Indonesia 1,392

Iran 2,343

Ireland 10,490

Israel 951

Italy 81,477

Ivory Coast 119

Jamaica 567

Japan 199,980

Jordan 1,580

Kampuchea 31

Korea (South) 1,570

Kuwait 20,188

Laos 31

Lebanon 12,663

Liberia 30,981

Liechtenstein 133,276

Luxembourg 3,109

Malaysia 7,948

Mexico 179,276

Morocco 1,035

Namibia 197

Netherlands 112,104

Netherlands Antilles 355,382

New Zealand 14,011

Nicaragua 1,378

Norway 4,913

Oman 454

Pakistan 982

Panama 121,629

Peru 308

Philippines 3,816

Poland 147

Portugal 4,146

Russia 771

St. Vincent 2,637

Saudi Arabia 31,956

Senegal 10

Singapore 504

Somalia 11

South Africa 2,673

Spain 4,883

Sweden 54,880

Switzerland 286,005

Syria 2,689

Taiwan 7,899

Tanzania 10,143

Thailand 1,835

Trinidad & Tobago 94

Turkey 38

Turks Island 3,292

United Arab Emirates 4,149

United Kingdom 1,798,722

Uruguay 10,807

Venezuela 22,339

Vietnam 152

Zimbabwe 230

Multiple 1 54,843

Third tier 2 54,872

Subtotal 3 6,644,252

See footnotes at end of table.

Table 2-4.

U. S. agricultural landholdings by country of foreign owner,

December 31, 1995

Interests excluding U. S. Corporations with foreign shareholders

25

Table 2-4 continued.

U. S. agricultural landholdings by country of foreign owner,

December 31, 1995 (continued)

U. S. Corporations with foreign shareholders

1 A report is processed as "multiple" when no single country predominates -- for example, an equal partnership between a Canadian and a German.

2 A report is processed as "third tier" if three or more levels of ownership are reported with no foreign interests stated.

3 Total interests excluding U. S. corporations with foreign shareholders.

4 Total interest of U. S. corporations with foreign shareholders.

Country Number of Acres

US/Lebanon 411

US/Andorra 3,741 US/Liberia 24,064

US/Argentina 4,056 US/Libyan Arab Republic 280

US/Australia 5,030 US/Liechtenstein 101,202

US/Austria 26,138 US/Luxembourg 234,551

US/Bahamas 61,500 US/Malaysia 300

US/Barbados 41 US/Malta 500

US/Belgium 88,553 US/Mexico 254,395

US/Bermuda 37,571 US/Netherlands 384,297

US/Brazil 14,396 US/Netherlands Antilles 210,572

US/Brit. Virgin Islands 424,704 US/New Hebrides 883

US/Canada 1,799,034 US/New Zealand 50,455

US/Cayman Islands 52,536 US/Nicaragua 282

US/Chile 9,948 US/Norway 9,709

US/China 13,151 US/Pakistan 423

US/Colombia 11,435 US/Panama 151,088

US/Costa Rica 407 US/Paraguay 236

US/Denmark 8,228 US/Peru 1,696

US/Dominican Republic 589 US/Philippines 7,881

US/Ecuador 1,632 US/Portugal 1,683

US/Egypt 4,264 US/Qatar 219

US/El Salvador 607 US/Saudi Arabia 10,711

US/Finland 2,419 US/Singapore 73

US/France 1,100,081 US/South Africa 2,733

US/Germany 872,745 US/Spain 7,846

US/Greece 5,249 US/Sweden 4,094

US/Guatemala 412 US Switzerland 331,355

US/Guyana 334 US/Taiwan 45,029

US/Honduras 37 US/Thailand 252

US/Hong Kong 131,139 US/Trinidad & Tobago 20

US/Indonesia 644 US/Turkey 443

US/Iran 1,861 US/United Arab Emirates 4,543

US/Iraq 800 US/United Kingdom 1,044,245

US/Ireland 1,942 US/Uruguay 695

US/Israel 414 US/Venezuela 40,182

US/Italy 23,547

US/Japan 290,936

US/Jordan 434

US/Kenya 32

US/Korea (South) 85

US/Kuwait 8,330

US/Multiple 178,776

US/Third Tier 342,754

Subtotal 4 8,457,880

Total all landholdings 15,102,037

1 A report is processed as "multiple" when no single country predominates -- for example, an equal partnership between a Canadian and a German.

2 A report is processed as "third tier" if three or more levels of ownership are reported with no foreign interests stated.

3 Total interests excluding U. S. corporations with foreign shareholders.

4 Total interest of U. S. corporations with foreign shareholders.

Source: USDA, ERS, Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act data.

U. S. agricultural landholdings of foreign owners, by State,

December 31, 1995

State or Foreign-owned State or Foreign-owned State or Foreign-owned Territory in "agricultural land acres"

Alabama 299,579

Alaska 75

Arizona 338,653

Arkansas 155,691

California 954,052

Colorado 678,173

Connecticut 881

Delaware 5,878

Florida 620,559

Georgia 558,953

Hawaii 180,058

Idaho 22,624

Illinois 209,549

Indiana 94,395

Iowa 33,105

Kansas 69,490

Kentucky 121,151

Louisiana 682,366

Maine 2,968,434

Maryland 51,260

Massachusetts 2,029

Michigan 444,239

Minnesota 221,971

Mississippi 444,286

Missouri 73,354

Montana 474,496

Nebraska 74,769

Nevada 388,393

New Hampshire 16,477

New Jersey 18,369

New Mexico 785,355

New York 280,614

N. Carolina 153,962

N. Dakota 27,839

Ohio 185,935

Oklahoma 56,306

Oregon 644,143

Pennsylvania 91,769

Puerto Rico 839

Rhode Island 17

S. Carolina 198,852

S. Dakota 42,957

Tennessee 83,010

Texas 1,209,677

Utah 61,013

Vermont 86,532

Virginia 144,284

Washington 389,777

W. Virginia 166,974

Wisconsin 77,890

Wyoming 210,983

Total 15,102,037

Source: USDA, ERS, Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act data.

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