Introduced in late January by Senate authors Mark Messmer, James Tomes, and Jean Leising, Indiana Senate Bill 388 covers a lot of ground; roughly 320 acres at a time to be exact. Governor Holcomb signed this bill into law in late March and it takes effect on July 1st. Here are some of the main points of the bill.:
- Postsecondary education institutions are required to report foreign gifts and ownership of land.
- Beginning July 1, 2022, a foreign business entity may not acquire agricultural land located within Indiana for the purposes of crop farming or timber production in excess of 320 acres.
- A foreign business entity that owns agricultural land in Indiana cannot transfer that land to another foreign business entity after June 30, 2022 (*for the purposes of crop farming or timber production)
- If a business entity buys, sells, or transfers agricultural land* in Indiana, that must be reported to the secretary of state and the attorney general
- All agricultural land* in violation of the law will be forfeited to the state
- Russian citizens or business entities cannot hold or convey real property within the state of Indiana
To simplify the above list, if a foreign entity already owns agricultural land in Indiana, they are unaffected by SB 388 until they want to sell it. Then at the time of sale that entity cannot sell the land to another foreign entity. If a foreign entity wants to purchase agricultural land for the purpose of crop farming or timber production in Indiana, they can buy no more than 320 acres. The bill doesn’t cover just how the state plans to enforce these new guidelines.
Indiana isn’t the only state with limitations on foreign ownership of agricultural land: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin all have some form of foreign ownership restrictions.
It’s important to understand what the bill doesn’t restrict. A foreign business entity can hold and convey agricultural land for the following purposes:
- Can be used for research or experimental purposes, including testing, developing, and producing seeds or plants for sale or resale to farmers as seed stock
- Can be used for crop farming if it’s no more than 320 acres
- Can be used for timber production if it’s no more than 10 acres
- Can be used for a confined feeding operation (CAFO) or to construct a CAFO
- Can be used to raise or produce eggs or poultry, including hatcheries and other ancillary activities
- Foreign business entities can acquire agricultural land if those acres are necessary for purposes other than crop farming or timber production
This law is brand new and there are many ramifications from it for Indiana land ownership now and into the future. What does this mean for you and your farm operation? For a closer look at the bill, click here. If you want to discuss this further please reach out to Halderman at 800-424-2324.