China Keeps Buying U.S. Farmland, Prompting Concern in Congress

There's mounting pressure on lawmakers to crack down on Chinese investors buying American farmland.

Foreign holdings of U.S. agricultural land are in public eye after a speech in Washington last week by former Vice President Mike Pence.

“Chinese investors now own nearly 200,000 acres of prime American farmland. America cannot allow China to control our food supply,” Pence explained.

Pence says the U.S. must curb Chinese economic influence. Other countries with large investment in U.S. farmland include Germany, Italy, and Canada.

“U.S. Agriculture is the envy of the modern world in terms of our production practices, how food, fiber, fuel, and timber are produced,” Gary Joiner, with the Texas Farm Bureau, said. “I’m sure investors see that land as an opportunity to invest in that success."

Joiner told KTRH Texas had about 2.9% of its agricultural land held by foreign investors in 2019, which is about 4.4 million acres.

“Being able to clothe, feed, and supply your country with your own agricultural products is a matter of national security, and I suspect those that feel like additional acres that are taken out of U.S. ownership may jeopardize that prospect,” Joiner added.

Members of both parties are looking into measures to crack down on foreign purchases of prime agricultural land. Pence says one way they could is by cutting taxpayer subsidies for foreign owners.

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