SD foreign ag land ownership discussions continue beyond session

State lawmakers in South Dakota couldn’t agree on a foreign ag land ownership update. The president of South Dakota Farm Bureau says the discussions will continue after the session ends on Monday.

Scott VanderWal, a crop and livestock farmer from Volga, says more time is needed to evaluate the unintended consequences of state regulation and monitor the federal government’s decision on banning certain countries from buying or investing in ag land or businesses.

“The U.S. Senator from South Dakota, Mike Rounds, has a bill related to foreign ag land ownership and we’re watching to see if it gets traction,” says VanderWal. “We plan to work with the governor’s office, other agriculture industry partners, state lawmakers and our federal partners to get the best solution that we can.”

VanderWal says land sales are a personal property rights decision for farmers.

“If people want to sell their land to the highest bidder, sometimes a foreign entity might be that. At the same time, we would encourage people to take a look at helping young people without heirs get started in farming.”

In February, the South Dakota Senate vetoed a proposal from Governor Kristi Noem to create a 5-person board to investigate ag land purchases and require the governor’s approval. No other solutions related to foreign ag land ownership passed following that veto, but the governor did sign a bill into law restricting state and local governments from contracting with six countries.

In a recent press conference, Noem says foreign ag land ownership would be brought back up in the state legislature in 2024.

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