In the last few years, a very concerning trend has emerged: China has begun to acquire large swaths of American farmland. Over the last decade, China’s U.S. agricultural land holdings have increased tenfold, controlling more than $2 billion in American farmland at the beginning of 2020.
The purchase of U.S. farmland is part of the Chinese government’s insidious Belt and Road Initiative. The Belt and Road Initiative is a global infrastructure development strategy being implemented by the Chinese government, with the goal of setting up “debt-traps” in developing countries throughout the world. Simply put, the Chinese government has sent billions of dollars to more than 145 countries, many of which will be unable to repay these debts, in which case the Chinese will assume control of any infrastructure assets they have funded.
We should all be alarmed at this development. A country that cannot feed itself cannot survive. America’s greatest asset is our ability to produce essential goods here at home. We need to look no further than the gas station to see what happens when we cede domestic production to foreign nations. I will not stand by as the Chinese attempt to weaken our ability to feed ourselves.
We must act now to protect the future of our food supply. In Congress, we cosponsored the Prohibition of Agricultural Land for the People’s Republic of China Act. This legislation will prohibit the purchase of American farmland by individuals associated with the Chinese government.
We should be taking every action possible to strengthen our domestic agriculture production while preventing our adversaries from encroaching on our national sovereignty. A handful of states, including Minnesota, already have laws banning foreign ownership of farmland, but these restrictions can be circumvented. While it is encouraging that these states have already acted on this topic, this is an issue of national security and requires action from Congress.
We are already dangerously close to food shortages thanks to supply chain failures, high input costs for farmers, and skyrocketing fuel costs – we cannot afford another threat to our food supply.