The Ohio law prevents anyone deemed a threat to Ohio or the U.S. from owning farmland in the state
By Diego Flammini
Another U.S. state is taking measures to limit foreign ownership of farmland within its borders.
In Ohio, the Save Our Farmland and Protect Our National Security Act went into effect in early October.
The law prevents anyone listed on a registry compiled by the Secretary of State from owning farmland in Ohio.
The list includes people with ties to the governments of China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia or Venezuelan politician Nicolás Maduro from purchasing farmland in the state.
“It is certainly obvious to me that our farmland should not be for sale to those who are a clear enemy of the United States, such as China,” State Senator Terry Johnson said in a statement. "Starting now, our state is better equipped to protect its resources and national security from those seeking to do us harm.”
Foreign owners already have a stake in Ohio farmland.
About 2.5 percent of all private farmland is owned by foreign entities.
And any foreign owners who owned farmland before Oct. 3, 2023, can keep it.
Going forward, anyone who suspects a farmland owner falls into the categories listed on the registry can contact the Secretary of State.
If the Secretary of State agrees that ownership is in violation of the law, the Attorney General gets involved.
Court proceedings could follow where the foreign owner may be forced to relinquish ownership to the State.
The State would then put the land up for sale at a public auction. Proceeds would help cover court costs and the remaining funds would be distributed to general funds of the county where the land in question is located.
In total, about 12 U.S. states have passed or are working on foreign farmland ownership legislation.
In Arkansas, for example, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her government is forcing Syngenta’s parent company, ChemChina, to sell 160 acres of land within two years.