In one Arizona town, residential wells are running dry as a huge farm owned by a Saudi company pumps water to its alfalfa crops. But those crops will only be shipped to feed cows in the Middle East, where water is also growing scarce, CNN reported.
Water-intensive crops like alfalfa and hay have already been banned in Saudi Arabia as the country runs dry. But sprawling dairy farms are a point of national pride in the Middle East, so those countries are getting their water overseas, according to CNN.
Foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land has increased by an average of nearly 2.2 million acres a year since 2015. It now totals nearly 3 percent of all privately held agricultural land in the U.S., mostly in the country's south and west, according to a 2020 U.S. Department of Agriculture report.