The recent Chinese Spy balloon controversy has renewed concerns about growing Chinese interest in U.S. farmland.
A report by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture noted the amount of U.S. farmland under Chinese ownership exceeded 338,000 acres in 2020. The AmericaFirstPolicy group put the number at 352,140 acres.
The number continues to rise.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Chinese ownership in U.S. farmland represents less than 1% of the U.S. farmland held by foreign citizens and is not a great concern. USDA data claims, however, that “foreign investors owned at least 35.2 million acres of U.S. agricultural land in 2019 — 2.7 percent of U.S. farmland,” which poses a security risk.
Last Friday, South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem warned:
“South Dakota is now the only home of the B-21 Bomber. That’s huge for both our state’s economy and our national security, but it also means that hostile countries like China are going to do whatever they can to get intelligence on that bomber.”
Noem added: “Just last year, we saw a Chinese entity purchase land near an Air Force Base in North Dakota,” Noem said. “Though they claimed it was for corn processing, there is not enough corn nearby to justify the facility. So, it appears to be more nefarious.”
The mayor of Grand Forks located near the proposed $700 million corn mill was initially receptive to the Fufeng Group’s offer but stated his opposition after the U.S. Air Force noted the 370-acre plant would likely serve as a counterintelligence threat.
City officials withdrew permits to build the plant.
An alarmed Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) has called for the U.S. to “ban the sale of American farmland to the Chinese Communist Party,” period.
Last June, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed the Lone Star Infrastructure Protection Act that prohibits businesses representing “critical infrastructure’ from entering into certain agreements with companies owned by Chinese citizens.
Forbes noted that Abbott urged drafting the bill after an alleged Chinese military officer’s company purchased a wind farm in Val Verde County near Laughlin Air Force Base.
The Wall Street Journal reported that approximately half of all U.S. agricultural land owned by Chinese nationals is in Texas.
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