Risk to national security & pricing out families: Senators voice their concerns on foreign land ownership

The Senate Ag Committee is holding its hearing on foreign ownership of U.S. ag land.
USDA’s Deputy Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, the Director of the National Agricultural Law Center, and a Michigan State Economist are testifying.

Senator John Boozman tells AgriPulse that there is a real case to be made for USDA to be represented in the committee on foreign investment.

During a call with reporters this morning, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley said that this issue is not anything new but a long-standing one.

According to Grassley, “Several states are having this problem and we just had a new panel added to the hearing today of four Senators who are going to testify, and I assume, the reason they’re testifying is because it’s a problem in those four states. These foreign purchases will further drive up land values, causing family farmers to pay more or to be priced out of the market. But that’s not to mention the serious national security risks that occur when an adversary like China starts putting down roots next door to some military facility, and that’s been an issue you’ve read about lately. And this whole issue of foreign ownership of farmland is not a new one.”

Twenty-four U.S. states already have their own foreign ag land restrictions in place, with ten passing this year.
The National Agricultural Law Center says that the rules vary from state to state limiting only certain purchases. Many block investments from specific countries like China, Iran, and Russia.