As Farm Bill work continues, lawmakers keep focus on foreign ag land ownership
The topic of foreign ag land ownership does not appear to be going away any time soon. Oklahoma senator Mark Mullin says he has spent a lot of time traveling the Sooner state, talking to rural residents.
“That discussion is interesting, because when we start diving into that, and let them understand that the Chinese are buying it, it’s like a third company that’s buying it, it’s an investor, as a billionaire or a millionaire in China, which is, honestly, you’re going to be connected to the government if you’re wealthy in China. They’re buying it through an LLC that they set up in the United States that’s invested into a hedge fund, that a hedge fund owns 150 different entities and that hedge fund is buying the land. And so, it’s not there’s no way for the United States to actually pay attention to that,” Sen. Mullin said.
Mullin is calling on government officials to pay close attention to the land being bought in strategic areas like near military installations. That is after a Chinese firm purchased land in North Dakota next door to an Air Force base last year.
“There’s no way for us to be able to see that and then to peel onions off the same way. So, what we have to do is pay attention to strategic areas, like land being purchased around Fort Sill, around Altus Air Force Base around, Vance Air Force Base, and see what that land purchase is and see if that’s been purchased by an adversary that’s an investor, and how we need to handle it, so each one is different,” Sen. Mullin said.
Lawmakers in neighboring Missouri have been working to address the issues as well. They are looking to get a bill passed that would prevent non-citizens or foreign businesses from owning ag land. They hope to have this done before the state legislative session ends this month.