House Republicans are advancing plans to ban Communist China from buying up large swathes of American farmland.
GOP Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) have introduced a bill that would prohibit nonresident aliens, companies, and other entities associated with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from buying agricultural land in the United States.
The Prohibition of Agricultural Land for the People’s Republic of China Act would also ban those interests’ participation in U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) programs beyond food safety inspections, according to Rodgers’ press release.
In 2019, the USDA indicated that Chinese foreign investors held more than 191,000 acres of U.S. agricultural and non-agricultural land.
Last Tuesday, Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski announced an effort to stop China’s Fufeng Group from building a corn mill on 370 acres purchased in his North Dakota city.
The site is not far from Grand Forks Air Force Base, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Bochenski and other local leaders had celebrated the project when the Fufeng Group’s decision to build in Grand Forks was publicized in 2021.
However, Air Force Assistant Secretary Andrew Hunter said on January 27 that the Defense Department believes it presents “a significant threat to national security,” the WSJ reported.
Newhouse’s press secretary Mike Marinella said the Grand Forks corn mill project news did not influence his introduction of the bill.
“This is yet another example of a potential threat from the Chinese Communist Party and Rep. Newhouse will continue to be a leader in protecting American farmland from our nation’s adversaries,” Marinella said.
“Agriculture is Eastern Washington’s number one industry,” Rogers said.
“We simply cannot allow companies from China to lock down our resources and undermine our farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to feed the world.
“Americans should not be forced to rely on China for the food they put on the table.
“Prohibiting the Chinese Communist Party from purchasing farmland in the United States is a no-brainer that will support domestic food production and decrease our dangerous dependence on foreign adversaries.”