Iowa Protects Farmland From Foreign Ownership

On Monday, the Iowa Legislature took a decisive step to secure American agricultural interests against foreign encroachment. In a move lauded by Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), lawmakers unanimously passed Senate File 2204, a bill introducing stringent restrictions on foreign ownership of Iowa farmland.

The new legislation addresses growing concerns over foreign entities, particularly from nations seen as economic adversaries, gaining control over U.S. soil.

Gov. Reynolds, in her statement, credited Iowa’s agricultural leadership and the need for laws that evolve with the changing global landscape. “American farmland should remain in American hands, and Iowa’s agricultural dominance must be protected. Other states look to Iowa as a model, but foreign adversaries are adapting, and our laws must too,” Reynolds added.

Under Senate File 2204, the Iowa attorney general gains enhanced powers to investigate land ownership, ensuring that foreign entities comply with state regulations. The legislation mandates detailed reporting from foreign landowners and significantly increases penalties for non-compliance. Violations could now result in fines up to 25% of the property’s value, a steep rise from the current maximum of $2,000.

This legislation comes in response to the increasing foreign acquisition of U.S. farmland, which has sparked a nationwide debate on food security and national sovereignty. In Iowa, foreign entities currently own about 1.6% of the state’s farmland, with Canada and “all others” leading in ownership stakes. Though Chinese ownership remains relatively minor, concerns persist over international intentions and the potential for foreign control over American agriculture.

Representatives from both sides of the aisle have voiced their support for the bill, highlighting the importance of safeguarding the state’s agricultural assets. Republicans emphasize the need to counteract foreign attempts to gain insights into American agricultural practices, while Democrats view the legislation as essential for maintaining control over the state’s agricultural future, especially as the current generation of farmers ages.

The bipartisan support for Senate File 2204 reflects a shared recognition of the critical link between agriculture and national security. As state Rep. J.D. Scholten (D) noted, “Food security is national security.”

The passage of this bill marks a significant milestone in the ongoing effort to defend American interests against foreign influence and control. It sends a clear message that while Iowa welcomes beneficial international partnerships, it will fiercely guard its agricultural heritage and resources.