Senate passes bill to keep farmland under American ownership

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Indiana lawmakers are working to keep farmland under American ownership, not foreign ownership.

Senators voted 47 to 2 on Senate Bill 388 that would prevent foreign ownership of farmland in Indiana. However, the bill would allow foreign entities that currently own farmland to retain it.

State Senator Mark Messmer of Jasper sponsored the bill. He says this would meet the country’s food security needs.

“There is a growing problem in the United States with China buying up hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland as part of its goal to have as much agricultural property as possible under its ‘one belt’ program. , a road. It is important that cultivated land is used first to ensure the food security of our country, ”said Senator Messmer.

Messmer says that if this issue is not addressed, it could become a national security issue.

“With an adversary of our country buying and controlling agricultural properties every year, this will eventually become a national security issue,” he continues.

Indiana is not the first state to take such a step. Dr. Todd Kuethe is a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University. He says a dozen states already ban it.

“A lot of similar states have similar legislation. And there is concern among supporters that foreign interest in farmland could ultimately affect food security or the ability to control agricultural production,” said Dr Todd Kuethe.

On the other hand, Dr. Kuethe says those who oppose the bill argue that it could affect the price of land.

“There are also critics who say that this kind of bills are unnecessary, that it would create bureaucracy, that there is inefficiency in pricing and the possibility of buying or selling land since the type ownership is limited.”

The bill is now returned to the House for action.

Amalia H. Mercado