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Washington, D.C.—Today, Representatives Tom Emmer (MN-06) and Dan Newhouse (WA-04) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asking for clarity and accountability from foreign entities seeking to purchase U.S. farmland.

“America’s ability to grow and produce resources here at home is our greatest strength,” Emmer said. “The growing trend of foreign nations, like China, buying up American farmland presents an insidious threat to our ability to feed our own people.”

Emmer continued, “We cannot allow these crucial resources to be taken by faceless foreign actors. We must understand the identities and intentions of those attempting to purchase our farmland.”

Foreign ownership of domestic agricultural land has risen sharply in recent years, with Chinese land holdings alone increasing from 13,720 acres to 352,140 acres between 2010 and 2020.

“Over the last decade—and continuing today—we have witnessed the People’s Republic of China invest trillions of dollars throughout the Middle East, Indo-Pacific, South America, and Africa as part of their Belts and Roads Initiative. Now, they’re purchasing U.S. agricultural assets as a national priority for the PRC. This poses an immediate threat to U.S. national security and food security,” said Rep. Newhouse.

“Transparency on USDA’s process for reporting on foreign purchases of U.S. agricultural land—and ensuring the Biden Administration is enforcing the laws we already have in place—is the bare minimum we need to be doing to protect our national security,” Newhouse concluded.  

Specifically, the letter asks about the USDA’s process for compiling and reporting data on foreign land purchases under the 1978 Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act.

You can read the text of the letter in full here