In a press release from the US Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, the FSA wants to remind foreign persons with an interest in agricultural lands in the US, that they are required to report their holdings and any transactions to the US Secretary of Agriculture.

"Any foreign person who acquires, transfers or holds any interest, other than a security interest, in agricultural land in the United States is required by law to report the transaction no later than 90 days after the date of the transaction," said Ford County USDA Farm Service Agency executive director Rebecca L. Merkle. "Failure to file a report, filing a late report or filing an inaccurate report can result in a penalty with fines up to 25 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land."

Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act reports must be filed with the FSA county office that maintains reports for the county where the land is located by foreign investors.

Agricultural land is defined as any land used for farming, ranching or timber production, if the tracts total 10 acres or more for AFIDA purposes.

When there are changes in land use, disclosure reports are also required.

Reports are required when land use changes from nonagricultural to agricultural or from agricultural to nonagricultural for example.

When there is a change in the status of ownership such as owner changes from foreign to non-foreign, from non-foreign to foreign or from foreign to foreign, foreign investors must also file a report.

An annual report is prepared to the President and Congress from the data gained in the disclosures concerning the effect of the holdings upon family farms and rural communities throughout the country.

Contact the Ford County FSA office at 620-227-3731 or visit the USDA web site at www.usda.gov, for more information regarding AFIDA and FSA programs.

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