Senate bill aims to limit foreign ownership of land in South Dakota

The late evening news on KEVN Black Hills Fox Monday-Friday
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 6:12 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Last year, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced a plan to restrict the purchase of agricultural land by foreign countries.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 43.2 million acres of land in South Dakota is dedicated to farms and ranches, making agriculture the number one industry in the state.

Senate Bill 185, which limits the purchase of land used for agriculture by foreign countries, aims to protect land in South Dakota and what Noem says is “our nation’s food supply.”

Some ranchers are in favor of the bill, saying it will protect those who have been in the industry for generations.

“For me, it’s a good thing. Keep it local. Keep it for the people who grew up here and want to be a part of South Dakota agriculture. It’s a great thing we have in this state,” said Garrett Kotalik, with Kotalik Cattle.

Troy Thomas, who owns Thomas Ranch added, “I think it’s a really good idea. I don’t think we need to be selling South Dakota land to the Chinese. Hopefully, we’re never going to be at war with them, but it is a concern when we have outside money and more control of the production side, whether we’re leasing land or competing to buy land.”

On the national level, South Dakota’s lone Representative, Dusty Johnson, co-sponsored two bills that seek to protect U.S. Farmland from the Chinese Communist party.

Amanda Radke with Nolz Limousine, a ranch in Mitchell, also supports placing limitations on foreign investors within the state.

“You know, if we think about it, we are a global market. We sell food all around the world but if we become beholden to other countries to feed ourselves it creates vulnerabilities in our food system. So, I’m all about strengthening our food system, trusting the American people as well as South Dakotans to do the job that they have been doing so well for generations,” said Radke.

Twelve other states including North Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska passed laws restricting the ownership of agricultural land by foreign countries.