The USDA Farm Service Agency last week released the latest figures showing percentage of foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land, finding that Canadians lead foreign ownership tallies, followed by people from the Netherlands.
The report is based on data gathered through Dec. 31, 2011. It shows that foreign investors hold an interest in 25,715,588 acres of U.S. agricultural land, which is approximately 2% of all privately held U.S. agricultural land, and 1% of all land in the U.S.
The total foreign-held U.S. agricultural acres as of the last report, dated Dec. 31, 2010, were 24,224,807, resulting in an increase of 1,490,781 acres.
According to the report, foreign investment in U.S. agricultural land is concentrated in the South and West.
The state of Texas has the largest amount of foreign held U.S. agricultural land with 2,894,563 acres, representing 1.9% of privately-held agricultural land in Texas. Maine has the second largest amount of foreign held agricultural acres with 2,877,965. The majority of these acres consist of forest or timber land, totaling 2,830,467 acres. Washington has the third largest amount of foreign held agricultural land with 1,671,102 acres, which is 7.6% of its privately held agricultural land.
In terms of percentages, however, Maine leads with 16%, Hawaii is second with 8.8% and Washington is third with 7.6%.
States that showed the largest increases in foreign-held agricultural acres in 2011 were Kansas, with an increase of 148,647 acres; Washington, with an increase of 128,904 acres; and Wisconsin, with an increase of 107,463 acres, USDA said.
Most of the foreign land holdings are timber or forest, with cropland only accounting for 19% of the total acres. Foreign-held pasture and other land totals 37% of holdings, and non-agriculture category accounts for 2% of foreign-held acres in the U.S.
As noted, Canadians hold the most foreign-owned U.S. land, with people from the Netherlands second and Germany third. The United Kin gdom and Portugal round out the top five.
The publication's findings are based on reports submitted to FSA in compliance with the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978. The law was created to establish a nationwide system for collecting information pertaining to foreign ownership in U.S. agricultural land.
The report is available on the FSA website.