Chinese Ownership of US Farmland Becoming National Security Issue
After the recent news of the Chinese balloon that flew over the U.S., there are now heightened concerns about Chinese ownership of American farmland—and whether foreign ownership of farmland is a national security issue.
A Chinese food manufacturer recently bought 300 acres of land near Grand Forks, North Dakota, to set up a milling plant. The project is located about 20 minutes from the Grand Forks Air Force Base. Now, the U.S. Air Force is warning that China may be planning to use that facility to spy on the U.S. and the military’s drone testing facility.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who also serves as a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, says he’s introduced a bill that would include the USDA in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States—or CFIUS, for short.
“CFIUS made a decision that they didn’t have any authority to stop China from buying farmland in North Dakota, which seems to be very close to some of our military facilities,” according to Grassley. “Now, I’m not saying that I know for sure that there’s a connection to our national security and Chinese buying that farmland.”
Grassley fears that more U.S. farmland could fall into China’s hands in the future.
“Nearly half of U.S. farmland is owned by Americans over 65 years of age. So that means, in the next 20-years, it could be up to 370 million acres of farmland, could be changing hands.”
Grassley has also written a second bill would stop the farm credit system from lending to foreign investors for U.S. farmland. A bill enacted last year is aimed at keeping tabs of foreign land ownership.
“Under the bill, USDA is required to build an interactive database to show foreign ownership disclosures. And the USDA will report to Congress on the impact of these investments.”
According to the USDA in 2019, China, Russia and Iran together owned 200,000 acres here in the U.S.