In this file:
· China is buying up American farms. Washington wants to crack down.
… House lawmakers recently advanced legislation to that effect, warning that China’s presence in the American food system poses a national security risk. And key Senate lawmakers have already shown interest in efforts to keep American farms in American hands…
· Fortenberry would block China from buying U.S. farmland
… China is playing a double game in using our free and open society…
China is buying up American farms. Washington wants to crack down.
Bipartisan pressure is building to stop foreign nationals from purchasing American farm operations and receiving taxpayer subsidies.
By Ryan McCrimmon, POLITICO
The push to drain China’s influence from the U.S. economy has reached America’s farm country, as congressional lawmakers from both parties are looking at measures to crack down on foreign purchases of prime agricultural real estate.
House lawmakers recently advanced legislation to that effect, warning that China’s presence in the American food system poses a national security risk. And key Senate lawmakers have already shown interest in efforts to keep American farms in American hands.
The debate over farm ownership comes amid broader efforts by Congress and the Biden administration to curb the nation’s economic reliance on China, especially in key industries like food, semiconductors and minerals deemed crucial to the supply chain. The call for tighter limits on who owns America’s farms has come from a wide range of political leaders, from former Vice President Mike Pence to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), after gaining momentum seeded in farm states.
“America cannot allow China to control our food supply,” Pence said Wednesday during a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation, urging President Joe Biden and Congress to “end all farm subsidies for land owned by foreign nationals.”
Chinese firms have expanded their presence in American agriculture over the last decade by snapping up farmland and purchasing major agribusinesses, like pork processing giant Smithfield Foods. By the start of 2020, Chinese owners controlled about 192,000 agricultural acres in the U.S., worth $1.9 billion, including land used for farming, ranching and forestry, according to the Agriculture Department...
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Fortenberry would block China from buying U.S. farmland
Nebraska congressman says bill would make farms currently owned by China ineligible for U.S. subsidies
By Dan Swanson, News Channel Nebraska
July 18th 2021
LINCOLN - Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, a ranking member of the House on agriculture, spoke last week in favor of an amendment to the ag appropriations bills that would block Communist China and its surrogates from purchasing U.S. farmland and would make farmland, already owned by China, ineligible for U.S. farm subsidies.
Fortenberry: “This is fundamentally about national security, but also another issue – fairness. Let’s just ask ourselves a question. Can the American government go buy farmland in China? Can an American corporation buy farmland in China? How about an American citizen?
“I don’t have a clarity of answer for that, but I think the probability is as about as close to zero as you can get.”
A Fortenberry press release says about 30 million acres of American farmland are currently owned by foreign investors, including 200,000 acres owned by China. Fortenberry said Chinese ownership has expanded 10 fold in the past decade.
Fortenberry said a related issue is the purchase of the meatpacking processor Smithfield Foods by a China-based group.
Fortenberry: “ Let’s “unpack” that a bit. Ag is one of the huge export winners for America. So, China buys our export machine. American corporations play the same global game, but American and Chinese systems are not calibrated the same.
Here’s why this is all a bit ominous. China's mercantilist foreign policy is centered around resource extraction, predatory lending, and buying off foreign regimes. We can foresee the fate of democracy in Hong Kong, and what China intends for Taiwan. In the recent commemoration of the Chinese Communist Party’s 100th Anniversary, China’s “President-for-Life,” Xi Jinping, intoned that China’s rise to global dominance is an "historical inevitability" and that China will no longer be "bullied, oppressed, or subjugated" by foreign nations.
"Anyone who dares to try,” President Xi said to a fawning, choreographed Tiananmen Square crowd, “will find their heads bashed bloody against a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.”
President Xi wants to project himself to the world as learned, wise, gentle, a protector of Chinese ideals and culture. We desire to respect Chinese ideals and culture, especially the Chinese narrative around foreign occupation, and hope for better relations. But China is playing a double game in using our free and open society.
Currently, there are no federal restrictions on the amount of land that can be foreign owned...