Senator Seeks Ag Role on CFIUS to Tackle Foreign Ownership of Agriculture


By Chris Clayton, DTN/Progressive Farmer



Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., on Tuesday led the introduction of a bicameral and bipartisan bill to provide more agricultural leverage in foreign acquisition of U.S. companies.


Tuberville introduced the Foreign Adversary Risk Management (FARM) Act to include the Secretary of Agriculture on the special government committee that approves foreign investment and ownership of businesses for national security, known as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).


Tuberville, in a news release, said the pandemic has underscored the importance of agriculture to ensure the country remains food secure.


"Food security is national security, which is why the agriculture industry needs a seat at the table for the foreign investment vetting process. By adding agricultural supply chains as a covered transaction for CFIUS review, we can safeguard our food supply chains and agriculture industry from bad actors," Tuberville said.


Issues with CFIUS have come up in the past as lawmakers have complained about the lack of agricultural representation. Senators raised similar questions when Chinese-based WH Group bought Smithfield Foods, as well as when Germany-based Bayer bought Monsanto and ChemChina bought Syngenta. Still, CFIUS approved each of those acquisitions and it was unclear how much USDA was allowed to weigh in due to the secretive process CFIUS uses...