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Congress Considers China’s Threat To US Agriculture

Graham Perdue
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Congress will hear from witnesses this week concerned with China’s increased ownership of valuable U.S. farmland. Experts strongly caution that the nation’s chief adversary is buying up limited American agricultural resources.

Lawmakers on the House Committee on Agriculture will discuss a wide array of issues. These include the theft of intellectual property such as seed technology, hacking efforts originating from Beijing and foreign ownership of millions of acres of farmland. 

The session is titled simply, “The Danger China Poses to American Agriculture.”


Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) explained that China is a substantial threat to the U.S., and agriculture is part of that threat. “We’ve seen China steal our intellectual property, hack our cyber infrastructure and buy up American farmland.”

Thompson said it is up to lawmakers to use every available weapon, including the massive farm bill, to thwart Chinese intentions.

He cited the importance of blocking Beijing while shoring up “food and national security.” 

Among those expected to address the committee will be Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. She took the lead and implemented sweeping regulations against foreign interests owning farmland in her agricultural state.


Also giving testimony will be Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-PA), the chairman of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party along with ranking member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL).

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that foreign ownership of U.S. farmland swelled to roughly 40 million acres in 2021. This startling news was released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in January due to requests from Congress.

The USDA reported that foreign interests increased their U.S. farmland holdings by an average of almost 2.9 million acres per year since 2017.

The GAO bluntly declared that this expansion of foreign ownership of U.S. soil is a danger. It poses “national security risks — such as when foreign interests buy land near U.S. military installations.” 

In its explosive report, the GAO further noted that the USDA does not produce timely data on foreign investment in U.S. agriculture. This despite the figures being collected under the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act. 

This requires identification and review of transactions involving domestic property that may pose a national security risk.