Governor Parson: a state solution needed for foreign ag land ownership

Missouri’s governor says he would like to see foreign ag land ownership be addressed at the state level, not by the federal government. Mike Parson tells Brownfield it’s a delicate issue.

“I think it’s important the state legislature and farmers in our state get their voices heard and what’s important for the people in the state of Missouri is what we should be focused on.”

Casey Wasser, a senior policy director with Missouri Soybeans, says lawmakers have a big decision to make in the final weeks of the session: to put this into law or to ratify in the constitution and bring it up for a vote.

The Missouri House passed a bill in February which is now being reviewed by a special committee in the Missouri Senate, along with several other senate-led foreign ag land ownership bills. A few passed out of the special committee on Wednesday.

But Wasser says Pro Tem of the Missouri Senate wants to take foreign ag land ownership to voters in the primary election in the primary election in August 2024.

“Caleb Rowden has filed a resolution and it reads similar to how a bill would read, but it puts forward a question to the voters. That resolution will get a hearing and like any bill, it can be amended and goes to the floor. Eventually, if passed, it would be placed on the ballot.”

He says lawmakers are mostly in agreement on the policy language, which prohibits specific countries from buying more agriculture farmland in Missouri, reduces the cap of the amount of ag land that can owned by foreign entities and has the Secretary of State and Attorney General’s office oversee foreign land transactions.

Missouri’s state legislative session ends on May 30.

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