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Baldwin Introduces Bill to Improve Tracking of Foreign Investment in American Farmland

Legislation builds on Baldwin’s work to scrutinize foreign-owned farmland and protect rural communities, food supply, and national security; Foreign investors own approximately 40.8 million acres of U.S. agricultural land

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and a bipartisan group of senators introduced the AFIDA Improvements Act of 2024, legislation to strengthen reporting and enforcement of foreign investment in American agricultural land. The bill was prompted by a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which detailed alarming gaps in how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently tracks foreign investments. This legislation is the latest in Senator Baldwin’s longstanding effort to increase transparency and oversight of foreign ownership in the American agricultural industry.   

“Wisconsin’s farmland is the lifeblood of our rural communities, and we need to protect it for generations to come. When foreign investors buy up our agricultural land, it not only can jeopardize our local economies, but it also can put our food supply and national security at risk,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our bipartisan bill will help ensure Americans know exactly who is buying American agricultural land and the potential risks it poses.”

According to USDA data from December 2021, foreign investors own approximately 40.8 million acres of U.S. agricultural land. Foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land increased from 2009 to 2015 at an average increase of 0.8 million acres per year. However, since 2017, this number skyrocketed to an annual average of 2.9 million acres. Additionally, between 2010 and 2021, entities or individuals from China increased their ownership of U.S. agricultural land from 13,720 acres to 383,935 acres.

The AFIDA Improvements Act of 2024 would strengthen the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA) by taking the following actions to improve the USDA’s processes, drawn largely from recommendations from the GAO report.

The AFIDA Improvements Act of 2024 will:

  • Streamline CFIUS Data Sharing: Require USDA to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to govern data sharing between USDA and CFIUS member agencies within one year of enactment.
  • Modernize the AFIDA Handbook: Direct USDA to update the agency’s handbook for officials to collect AFIDA data within one year of enactment. This handbook was last updated in 2006.
  • Implement Current Law: Require USDA to develop and report to Congress a timeline to meet specific implementation benchmarks for an online AFIDA submission system and public database. While Congress has required USDA to implement an online system by 2025, GAO discovered that USDA “has not developed timelines for creating an online submission process [or] a public database.”
  • Improve Data Verification and Monitoring: Direct and empower USDA to take any such actions as are necessary to validate foreign ownership data collected under AFIDA.
  • Identify Suspected Non-Filers: Direct USDA to better leverage Farm Service Agency data to identify individuals who have illegally not filed transactions with foreign persons under AFIDA.
  • Collect Data from Every Foreign Investor: Require reporting for foreign persons with a minority stake in an agricultural land asset, including through ownership tiers or shell companies.


The legislation was led by Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Jon Tester (D-MT) and is also co-sponsored by Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Roger Marshall (R-KS), John Fetterman (D-PA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Katie Britt (R-AL), and Todd Young (R-IN).

In July of 2023, Senators Baldwin and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Farmland Security Act of 2023, which builds on their bipartisan Farmland Security Act of 2022, by ensuring that all foreign investors, including “shell companies,” who buy American agriculture land report their holding, strengthening penalties for those who evade filing, and investing in research to better understand the impact foreign ownership of American farmland and agricultural production capacity has on our domestic food supply, family farms, and rural communities.