Gov. Kristi Noem Raises Concerns Over China Ownership of US Agricultural Land

“The country that feeds us controls us,” Gov. Kristi Noem says.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has expressed alarm over the growing ownership of U.S. agricultural land by Chinese entities, saying that China could be planning to “buy up our entire food supply chain.”

During a March 20 House hearing about “the danger China poses to American agriculture,” Ms. Noem said that she has witnessed China buying up U.S. fertilizer companies, food processing systems, and now U.S. farmland.

“Over the years, I have witnessed this hostile communist country work to systematically take over more of America’s vital food supply chain,” the governor told lawmakers.

“China is buying up our entire food supply chain. When America can’t feed itself and relies on another country to feed us, it becomes a national security issue. The country that feeds us controls us,” she added.

As of Dec. 31, 2021, China owned 383,935 acres of U.S. agricultural land (out of 878 million acres), according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). While the acreage under Chinese ownership is slightly less than 1 percent of all foreign-held agricultural land, it represents a nearly 30-fold leap from 13,720 acres in 2010.

Ms. Noem said that the number may not even capture all land purchased by Chinese investors, as the federal government does not actively monitor and track foreign interests in such large transactions.

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“This should be alarming to all of us,” she stated. “There is little reporting and very few consequences for allowing countries that hate us to buy up our assets.”

According to the governor, the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources was previously contacted by “Chinese nationals wishing to meet, tour, and have conversations about how we process and grow our food,” but the department declined the request.

“We declined those meetings, and within days, the State Department contacted us to notify us that those individuals were Chinese spies trying to steal our intellectual property and crop genetics,” she added.

Ms. Noem has urged Congress to stop the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing from “infiltrating our country.”

“China doesn’t allow American companies to own their land—they don’t even allow their people to own land.  Why would we allow them to purchase our most significant asset?” she remarked.

There has been a growing demand in recent years to restrict the access of foreign entities to U.S. agricultural land. In July 2023, the U.S. Senate passed an amendment offered by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) to ban China and other foreign adversaries from purchasing U.S. farmland and agricultural businesses.

In the fall of 2021, for example, a Chinese company bought, through its subsidiary Fufeng USA, 370 acres of farmland to build a corn-milling plant in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The land is within 15 miles of Grand Forks Air Force Base, which houses sensitive drone, satellite, and surveillance technology. In December 2022, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) determined that the land sale for the Fufeng project was “not a ‘covered transaction’” under the committee’s jurisdiction.

The project proceeded until, at the end of January 2023, the Department of the Air Force stated that the branch has an “unambiguous” view that “the proposed project presents a significant threat to national security with both near- and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area.”

Terri Wu contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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