Implementation of the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978

CED-80-38: Published: Dec 18, 1979. Publicly Released: Dec 20, 1979.

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The Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978 requires foreign investors in U.S. agricultural land to register with the Department of Agriculture (USDA). A request was made for verification of the accuracy of registrations received by USDA by determining how many of the foreign investors identified in a previous report had actually registered.

All but 47 of the 224 transactions identified in the report had been registered as of October 22, 1979. The 47 unregistered transactions represented only 3 percent of the total acreage identified in the report. However, a number of problems with the implementation of the Act were noted. The more significant problems include: half of the unregistered owners said they were unaware of the Act and its requirements; since a USDA report analyzing the registration information is late, it does not include all of the information; it would be difficult and costly to determine the extent of registration; there is no cost-effective way of ensuring that the information is accurate; certain program procedures and regulations are vague because they had to be hurriedly assembled; the availability to the public of the investor's identities may be a deterrent to registration; continuing publicity is essential to help ensure that investors are kept aware of the Act's requirements; and, while allowing a formal grace period before assessing penalties may encourage registration, it would require a change in the law.

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