Bill calls for confidential report on foreign ownership of Iowa farmland

DES MOINES — The bill Governor Kim Reynolds has proposed to find out if foreigners are using a loophole to acquire Iowa farmland has cleared initial review in the Iowa Senate.

Iowa’s secretary of state would be required to review land ownership records, to see if foreigners or foreign governments are involved in U.S. based companies or trusts that have purchased or inherited Iowa farmland and prepare a summary. The information would be presented to the governor and the legislature, but the annual report would be confidential and not released to the public.

“I think the information, when it’s all said and done, that the public would have some redacted versions of that, of what’s going on,” Zumbach said, “but at this point we’re good where we’re at.”

Iowa already prohibits foreigners from buying more than 320 acres of land. The bill would impose a higher fine for violations, based on the value of the farmland. The current penalty is $2000..