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Whiteman AFB is located in central Missouri, surrounded by farmland.

Governor bans China, others from owning Missouri land near military sites

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson this week issued an executive order prohibiting foreign countries considered American adversaries from purchasing land near military facilities in the state.

The order will block entities from China, Russia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela from purchasing land within a 10-mile radius of military facilities. The move comes as lawmakers across the country raise national security concerns over the purchase of land, some near military bases, by Chinese companies.

“With heightened concerns regarding ownership of Missouri farmland by foreign adversaries, especially China, we are signing this order to safeguard our military and intelligence assets, prevent security threats to our state and give Missourians greater peace of mind,” Parson said. “When it comes to China and other foreign adversaries, we must take commonsense precautions that protect Missourians and our security resources.”

Other states, such as Arkansas and Florida, have enacted similar measures as concerns over China remain high. About 42,596 acres of farmland currently are owned by Chinese entities in Missouri.

“I further declare that no Missouri agricultural land shall be acquired or owned by an alien or foreign business who is a citizen, resident or incorporated under the laws of a foreign adversary,” the executive order said.

Missouri is home to several major military facilities, including Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood. Any foreign purchase of land will require approval from the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Parson noted that he still wants the state to have strong business ties to countries such Sweden, Germany and Japan.

“Missouri must remain open for business to our allies,” he said. “As such, we believe this order, with the authority we have, sufficiently protects Missouri’s security interests from potential bad actors while not punishing our allies for being good economic partners or upstanding individuals fleeing oppression and coming to our nation legally in search of a better life.”

Foreign land ownership largely was banned in Missouri until 2013 when the Republican legislature overrode the veto of then-Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon of a bill that allowed foreign ownership of up to 1 percent of Missouri farmland. Republican lawmakers in the state now say they support Parson’s executive order and may put forward similar legislation during the current session.


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