China Takeover Of U.S. Farmland Suddenly Targeted By Congress
A new bill offered by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., would ban corporations and individuals affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party from buying or leasing U.S. farmland.
The bill, called the “This Land is Our Land Act,” would force connected entities to divest ownership of American farmland within two years or face fines and penalties.
“No Chinese corporation or individual associated with the CCP should be permitted to own American farmland. It undermines the integrity of our nation’s food supply chain, it presents national security threats when the land is in close proximity to military installations, and it hurts American farmers,” Hawley said.
His bill comes after a Chinese spy balloon was allowed to float across America before being shot down, and amidst Americans’ growing fears of Communist China as the United States’ most powerful enemy worldwide. Beijing’s aggressiveness has only grown under Biden’s feckless foreign policy.
The Epoch Times reports with tensions with China and the CCP escalating, “A growing number of lawmakers and state officials have moved to restrict land ownership from Chinese entities.”
A Hawley news release states the bill, a draft of which was published by Hawley’s office, would:
- Prohibit Chinese corporations and individuals affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party from acquiring or leasing United States agricultural land.
- Require Chinese corporations and individuals affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party to divest ownership of United States agricultural land within two years.
- Establish civil fines and criminal penalties for noncompliance, including forfeiture.
The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 6: “Chinese holdings of U.S. agricultural land have increased significantly in recent years, and nearly half of the Chinese-held acres of agricultural land at the end of 2020 were in Texas,” according to a U.S. Agriculture Department database obtained by the Journal under a FOIA request.
By the end of 2020, Chinese investors owned more than 338,000 acres of U.S, farmland, up from 75,000 acres at the end of 2010. The Journal reported: “About 80 percent of Chinese-owned U.S. agricultural acreage has been acquired since 2010.”
Nevertheless, according to the Journal, “China owns slightly less than 1% of all U.S. farmland held by foreigners, who in total owned around 3% of all privately held agricultural land at the end of 2021, according to the USDA.”
On Jan. 31, Grand Forks, North Dakota Mayor Brandon Bochenski, a Republican, announced his plans to kill a project with the Chinese agribusiness Fufeng Group, to build a large corn mill processing plant about 12 miles from Grand Forks Air Base, near the Minnesota border.
Bochenski’s action was a response to local pressure and Air Force lobbying culminating in a letter from Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Andrew Hunter to both of North Dakota’s U.S. senators, citing the “national security implications” of the Fufeng project.
“Grand Forks Air Force Base is the center of military activities related to both air and space operations … the Department’s view is unambiguous: the proposed project present a significant threat to national security with both near- and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area,” said Hunter’s letter.
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Bochenski said in a statement: “The federal government has requested the city’s help in stopping the project as geo-political tensions have greatly increased since the initial announcement of the project,” Epoch Times reported.
Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., supported the mayor’s decision to cancel the project.
Hawley is one of Congress’ toughest members on Communist China.
He is urging a rapid buildup of U.S. military deliveries to shore up Taiwan’s defenses in response to Beijing’s threats against the free island nation. And last year, after the Missouri senator proposed sanctions on Chinese CCP leader and President Xi Jinping for Beijing’s human-rights abuses in Xinjiang territory, home to the oppressed Uyghur Muslim minority, the Communist Chinese Embassy sent a “furious, 800-word email” directly to Hawley’s office denouncing the bill as “arrogant and despicable,” Axios reported Oct. 27.
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