SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A bill related to foreign ownership of agricultural land in South Dakota is moving forward in the state Legislature.
The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committee passed HB-1189 out of committee today. Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Will Mortenson said the bill would be the first step to more discussions and regulation of foreign ownership of ag land in the state.
“…make no mistake my goal is a foreign ownership ban,” Mortenson said. But HB-1189 will not force foreign owners to dissolve ownership of ag land, instead it would reinforce existing law.
The state already prohibits foreign ownership of more than 160 acres of ag land.
Mortenson said the law has loopholes. HB-1189 would require owners entities and foreign entities to disclose if they own agricultural land in the state. It would require entities to disclose if they have foreign beneficial owners.
In contrast to Gov. Kristi Noem’s SB-185 which died in the Senate, ag organizations testified in favor of HB-1189. Many ag organizations testified against SB-185 in the same committee on Feb. 14.
Representatives of pork producers, cattle producers and others said they supported HB-1189. They also said they were willing to discuss additional regulation on foreign ownership of agricultural land in the future.
Supporters said HB-1189 would provide valuable data about the level of foreign ownership of ag land in the state.
There was no testimony in opposition to the bill.