South Dakota Takes Stand Against Foreign Land Ownership

March 4, 2024

Today, Governor Kristi Noem enacted HB 1231, a measure aimed at imposing limitations on the ownership of agricultural land in South Dakota. The law is designed to prevent six foreign governments and entities associated with them from acquiring valuable agricultural land in the state.

Governor Noem emphasized South Dakota's commitment to the freedom of farming and ranching but stressed that such freedoms should not be extended to adversaries. She highlighted the urgent need for this legislation, citing ongoing discussions and the imperative to safeguard the state from foreign entities seeking to control its agricultural resources.

The legislation includes provisions to:

  • Prohibit ownership of South Dakota agricultural land by six designated foreign governments (China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela) and affiliated entities.
  • Strengthen enforcement mechanisms and require more comprehensive reporting.
  • Close loopholes in existing statutes regarding foreign ownership, addressing previous shortcomings in regulating domestic companies, corporations, LLCs, trusts, and similar entities with foreign ownership.

The bill aims to prevent nations unfriendly to the United States from acquiring American agricultural land, citing concerns that control over the food supply could translate into control over the country itself. Governor Noem referenced a dramatic increase in China's ownership of American agricultural land over the past decade as evidence of the urgency of this issue.

Governor Noem's signing of this bill marks one of 110 pieces of legislation she has signed into law during this legislative session.

Source: Western Ag Network, Office of Gov. Noem.