A federal solution to foreign ag land ownership considered at Commodity Classic

The president of the South Dakota Soybean Association says foreign ag land ownership has the attention of the nation’s soybean growers.

Jordan Scott says soybean growers want a federal solution to address foreign ag land ownership instead of a patchwork of state laws. South Dakota is one of several states considering specific language on the approval process of foreign ag land ownership.

“We don’t want to damage any of our partnerships around the world. China comes up alot, they’re the main buyer of our soybeans. We don’t want to damage that relationship anymore than we need to,” says Scott. “We’re being careful and treading lightly.”

The Farm Service Agency oversees foreign ag land ownership on the federal level. While Administrator Zach Ducheneaux says the agency needs more funding to enhance its work, this is a complicated issue and questions could be resolved at the local level.

“We don’t want to be a regulatory body and we don’t want to tell landowners what they can do with their land. If a foreign country is the highest bidder, it’s a shortcoming on us for not making sure our young and beginning producers didn’t have the money in their hand when the sale was about to happen.”

The American Soybean Association is expected to discuss the issue during Saturday’s delegate session.

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