CA Senate bill would ban foreign governments from buying agricultural land

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ByNic Garcia via KFSN logo
Thursday, August 25, 2022
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California State Senate Bill 1084 would place new restrictions on who can purchase agricultural land in the state.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- California State Senate Bill 1084 would place new restrictions on who can purchase agricultural land in the state.

The goal is to prohibit foreign governments from buying California's farm land.

Currently, about 2.7% of the Golden State's agricultural land is owned by people or governments in other countries.

In Fresno County, more than 150,000 acres of agricultural land have foreign owners.

State Senator Melissa Hurtado, of district 14, says that's concerning.

"Perhaps an adversary looking to use our land and resources and really impact food security -- not just for Californians and Americans but for all around the world," said Senator Hurtado.

If passed, the bill would prohibit a foreign government from "purchasing, acquiring, leasing or holding interest in agricultural land in California."

Despite the drought and farming challenges, experts say Central California is still one of the best places in the world to grow crops, which is why out-of-country investors and owners want a stake.

"It is very likely that every single American eats something from our backyard on a daily basis. And when I say our backyard, whether it's Fresno County - every American is taking a bite out of our area," said Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau.

No word yet on when SB 1084 will be up for a vote in the State Senate.