The South Dakota Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee unanimously gave its support to a proposal to restrict foreign ownership of farmland. “We know farmers and ranchers in South Dakota don’t want the Chinese Communist Party as our neighbors,” said Senator Erin Tobin, who is the bill’s sponsor. “We have to take every possible step to prevent this from happening.” All of the major South Dakota farm groups testified against this bill. South Dakota Farm Bureau President Scott VanderWal said his membership believes in American ownership of farmland. “We don’t disagree with the intent of this bill at all, but after reviewing the mechanics of the bill we have concerns.” Senate Bill 185 would establish a five-member committee with power to investigate ag land sales and leases. This committee would then make a recommendation to the governor, who would have sole authority to approve or deny the land sale or lease. “This grants unilateral authority to one person, something that Farm Bureau, regardless of the issue, is deeply concerned about.”
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