Foreigners have an interest (partial or total ownership) in 1.6% of all privately held U.S. agricultural land and 0.92% of all land in the U.S., according to a recent USDA report. The total is a 1.4-million-acre increase from 2007.

The report contains statistics on the 20.9 million acres of U.S. agricultural land in which foreign persons held an interest through Feb. 28, 2008.

The report, “Foreign Holdings of U.S. Agricultural Land,” is available at www.fsa.usda.gov, and includes a wide variety of figures and statistics, including:

  • A breakdown of land held by foreigners by the type of acreage: forest land, 58%; cropland, 13%; pasture and other agricultural land, 26%.
  • Which countries have foreigners holding the largest amount of land: Canadians hold the largest amount of land with almost 7.3 million acres, or 34%.
  • People from these three countries collectively hold more than 6.7 million acres, or 31% of the foreign held acres in the U.S.: Netherlands, almost 3.9 million acres (18%); United Kingdom, over 1.5 million acres (7%); and Germany, almost 1.4 million acres (6%).

The proportions of foreign-owned agricultural land to all privately owned agricultural land by state:

  • Maine has the largest amount of foreign-held U.S. agricultural land at 3.35 million acres, or 18.7% of the privately held agricultural land in the state.
  • In Hawaii, 8.8% of private agricultural land is foreign-held.
  • Washington (7.2%), Nevada (5.2%) and Alabama (5.1%) have the next largest proportions of foreign-held land.

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