Bill aims to block China from buying U.S. farmland

Larry Limpf

News Editor

The purchase of American farmland by foreign nationals associated with the government of the People’s Republic of China endangers our national security and food supply, said Congressman Bob Latta, R- Ohio, as he signed on to co-sponsor a bill to bar such purchases.
Congressman Dan Newhouse, R-WA, introduced the Prohibition of Agricultural Land for the People’s Republic of China Act last week.
“Allowing one of our greatest adversaries to snatch up farmland is a dangerous trend that not only has national security implications but threatens the security of our food supply and harms American agriculture producers,” Latta said.
The two congressmen provided background data about the issue:
-A 2018 U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service report outlined that Chinese investment in the agricultural sector has grown in the last decade. Reports have also shown Chinese investors have bought farmland near military bases and other U.S. infrastructure.
-In September 2013, the president of the People’s Republic of China and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, announced China’s “grand political-economic project,” now known as the Belt and Road Initiative. Over the last decade, Xi continues to invest billions into the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.
-A 1978 federal law – the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act – requires foreign entities to report transactions of farmland to the USDA’S Farm Service Agency. The data covers years 1900 through 2016.
-Six states have laws banning foreign ownership of farmland, including Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Oklahoma. But restrictions on Chinese land ownership can be circumvented by Chinese investors buying large U.S. corporations that own agricultural land.
The sponsors said the bill would direct the U.S. president to take necessary actions to prohibit the purchase of public or private farmland in the U.S. by foreign nationals associated with the Chinese government.
If passed, the bill would prohibit the same associations from participating in any USDA programs except for food safety inspections.
There are 58 co-sponsors to the bill, including Rep. Latta and Bill Johnson and Troy Balderson, also from Ohio.
The bill has been referred to the agriculture and foreign affairs committees.
Foreign investors held an interest in nearly 37.6 million acres of U.S. agricultural land (forest land and farm land) as of Dec. 31, 2020, according to an FSA report - an increase of more than 2.4 million acres from the 2019 report. That represents 2.9 percent of all privately held agricultural land in the United States.
Forest land accounted for 46 percent of all reported foreign-held acreage, cropland for 29 percent, pasture and other agricultural land for 23 percent, and non-agricultural land for 2 percent. Foreign holdings of U.S. agricultural land increased modestly from 2009 through 2015, increasing an average of 0.8 million per year. Since 2015, foreign holdings have increased an average of nearly 2.2 million acres annually, ranging from 0.8 million acres to 3.3 million acres per year.


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association