Foreign-Ownership Bills Now Awaiting Noem Signature

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    South Dakota lawmakers on Wednesday passed and sent to Gov Kristi Noem a pair of bills tightening limits on ownership of agricultural land by foreign entities and governments doing business with foreign owned or controlled firms.

       Noem had proposed and pushed hard for the measures, saying they were needed for the security of South Dakota. 

     One bill requires owners of ag land to report whether their businesses are owned by foreign entities, a way to help determine how much land is owned by foreign countries. That figure is currently unknown.

    The USDA says foreign entities and individuals control less than 3% of U-S farmland with less than 1% owned by entities with ties to China. 

     The other bill headed to Noem prohibits government partnerships with businesses owned or controlled overseas.

      Although she got these two bills, other measures on the same general subject were defeated. Among those was creating a committee to determine if certain countries could purchase over 160 acres of land. 

     Lawmakers pointed to flaws in its mechanics, but it was also unpopular with stock growers, who said it pitted national security against the viability of business and their property rights.