Australia bars foreigners from buying collection of cattle ranches bigger than South Korea

The Australian government has had barred foreigners from buying a company that owns the world's largest cattle ranch and other Australian farmland greater in area than South Korea.

The company, S. Kidman & Co. Ltd., owns 10 cattle ranches, a bull breeding stud and a feed lot covering 101,411 square kilometers (39,155 square miles). That's an area almost as big as the U.S. state of Virginia.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said in a statement on Thursday that the sale to foreign investors would be contrary to the national interest, partly because of national security issues.

Kidman owns the world's biggest cattle ranch, Anna Creek Station, which covers 23,677 square kilometers (9,142 square miles) of arid central Australia. Half of it is inside a military rocket firing range.