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Senate committee passes bill that would ban six rouge countries from purchasing land in South Dakota

(South Dakota Broadcasters Association) Foreign nationals and the governments of six “rogue” nations would be banned from purchasing agricultural land under a measure passed by a Senate committee this morning (Thursday). 

The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee passed HB1231 6 to 0.

The bill also fixes a loophole in a 1979 law that allowed foreign corporations and limited liability companies from purchasing land in the state. 

The banned nations in the bill are China, Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran. 

Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hunter Roberts, said South Dakota needed to act because the federal government wasn’t.

He said that according to the latest AFIDA report, over 43 million acres of agricultural land in the U.S. is held by foreign investors. In 2015, foreign holdings in U.S. agricultural land increased by an average of 2.2 million acres annually, according to Roberts.

The Secretary also said he had a first-hand experience with the Chinese trying to spy on South Dakota’s agricultural prowess in 2022.

He said two days before the department was scheduled to meet with them, U.S. Homeland Security reached out to the Department of Public Safety and the governor’s office to say that we should not meet with these entities. 

The bill does have provisions for violators to sell their land. Compliance is through the DANR and the Attorney General’s Office. Foreign entities will have to report their land holdings to the Secretary of State.

 The measure now goes to the Senate for further consideration. B1231 has already passed the House. 

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In Touch 4/24/24

Gene Morsching from Aberdeen Parks and Rec joins us to talk about the upcoming summer registration event…

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