Thursday, December 7, 2023

China buying up farmland in Nebraska? Nope, guess again! Single biggest buyer is Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Postcard from Retiring Guy's collection

HeadlineInvestigate Nebraska, 11/20/2023
The Flatwater Free Press spent months analyzing 12,700 sales of Nebraska farmland and ranch land made in the open market between 2018 and 2022, then chopping through a thicket of limited liability companies that often hide the actual buyer. Among the findings: 
The single biggest buyer scooping up the largest amount of ag land in Nebraska is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, through a nonprofit tied to a P.O. box in Utah. 
Great Plains Farms, headquartered in North Carolina, spent $65 million on land in Cherry, Dawes, and Sheridan counties in the northwest part of the state. Belltown Farms, which ranks No. 2 in sale amount, is an organic farming company with operations in Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Texas. 
Gov. Jim Pillen’s company Platte Center West was among the top spenders after acquiring hog farms, most in eastern Nebraska and some previously owned by The Maschhoffs, an Illinois-based corporate pork producer. The sale amount included buildings and other infrastructure in addition to the land itself. 
Some of the land purchased will no longer be farmland. The sales data show real estate developers acquiring farmland near Nebraska cities and towns to build homes and apartments. Tech companies like Facebook and Google have invested millions to turn land originally zoned agricultural into data centers. 
Oft-rumored foreign buyers of Nebraska land like China did not appear in the land sales data, but buyers from Canada and subsidiaries of several multinational corporations, including shipping behemoth ULINE, are among the top buyers of land.  [emphasis added]

But don't expect this analysis to squelch the rumors.

Nebraska Public Media, 3/13/2023

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