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Iowa Farmland Foreign Ownership Laws Strengthened

Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law that gives Iowa’s attorney general subpoena power to investigate agland purchases and ensure foreigners and foreign governments are not investing in Iowa farmland.

For decades it has been illegal for a foreign citizen for own more than 320 acres of Iowa farm ground, but Reynolds says foreigners could be using a loophole by investing in limited liability companies that buy agland. The new law requires agland purchase reports filed with the state to include more information about ownership structures.

Under current law, foreign entities caught owning more than 320 acres of Iowa farmland can be fined two-thousand dollars. The new law raises that fine to 25 percent of the assessed value of the land.

A huge crowd of legislators and ag group leaders gathered in the Iowa Capitol rotunda for Tuesday’s bill signing ceremony. Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird says Iowa has had a good law since 1979 to ban foreign ownership of large tracts of Iowa farmland and this update makes it better.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig says it’s landmark legislation to keep farm ground in the hands of Iowans.

National estimates indicate foreigners own millions of acres of farmland, roughly equal to the size of Ohio.

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