Gov. Burgum signs bill to ban foreign governments from buying ag land in the state

The law will go into effect later this year.

North Dakota Capitol
North Dakota Capitol in Bismarck. Forum file photo

BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum has signed a bill to ban foreign governments and businesses they control from buying agricultural land in the state.

Portrait of Governor Doug Burgum
Portrait of Governor Doug Burgum

House Bill 1135 was signed on Thursday, April 20, along with more than a dozen others.

The law will go into effect later this year.

Some amendments made to the bill since it was originally drafted include that the prohibition on foreign ownership of agricultural land wouldn’t apply to land that is used for “agriculture research and development or experimental purposes, including testing, developing or producing crop production inputs, including seed, fertilizer, pesticides, soil amendments, plants or biologicals.”

Another amendment also makes an exception for the number of acres that can be used for research purposes. The Senate limited it to 160 acres.


A “foreign government,” as listed in the bill, doesn’t include Canada or its provinces or territories.

House Bill 1135 will not affect land held by a foreign government before July 1, 2023.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Lawrence Klemin, R-Bismarck, was brought forward following concerns over the Fufeng wet corn mill project in Grand Forks.

Another bill related to foreign entities acquiring or investing in land in the state making its way through the Legislature is Senate Bill 2371, which focuses on foreign adversaries and would prohibit county commissions and city councils from establishing development agreements with entities deemed "foreign adversaries" of the United States.

House Bill 1503, which sought to prohibit foreign ownership of real property in North Dakota, passed the House 93-0 on Feb. 21, but failed 45-2 during a Senate floor vote on March 20 due to its similarities to Senate Bill 2371.

Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 701-780-1267 or

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