Here’s an issue that many people might not be aware of, but it’s something I’ve been looking at closely in Congress.
China owns and controls almost 192,000 acres of farmland right here in the United States. To be clear, it’s not a huge percentage of our total farm acreage by any stretch. According to the FDA, there are more than 35 million acres of farmland in the U.S. which are owned by foreign investors. It’s also true that investors from several other countries like Canada, Germany, and Italy own significantly larger amounts of our farmland than China.
However, there are two things that make Chinese ownership in our farmland particularly concerning. First, foreign investors from China are under the total and absolute control of the communist Chinese government. And second, that government has become increasingly hostile towards America. From military threats to cyber attacks to rampant intellectual property theft, the leadership of that nation has some serious behavioral problems that represent a threat to our nation.
So it is very concerning for investors controlled by the communist Chinese government to be gobbling up American farms. From a homeland security standpoint, we cannot find ourselves in a situation where a squabble with China could trigger a decrease in production from the U.S. farms they control.
And from a military standpoint, it is alarming that China now controls farms near critical military installations like Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota and Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas. Several states already have restrictions on foreign ownership of farmland, but I believe this is an issue that needs attention at the federal level.
In Congress, I’ve co-sponsored H.R. 7892, which will prohibit the sale of U.S. farmland to anyone associated with the communist Chinese government. I’ve also co-sponsored H.R. 5490, which requires the USDA to conduct a detailed analysis of the extent of foreign influences in the agricultural industry.
I’ll keep you updated on these efforts as things move forward.