The discovery of a Chinese spy balloon over the United States last week underscored the ongoing threat from hostile nations. On Monday, the Missouri House Agriculture Committee passed HCS HB 903, which would protect fair competition and limit foreign ownership of Missouri farmland by defined enemies, like China, of the United States.
“This legislation puts Missouri and Missourians first by balancing the concept of protecting important investments in our state and protecting our national security interests from our enemies,” said Republican Rep. Mike Haffner of Pleasant Hill. “This commonsense bill will continue to allow our allies access and opportunities to participate in our economically diverse free-market global system, while strongly limiting the access of our enemies.”
HCS HB 903 limits foreign ownership of Missouri farmland to one-half of 1 percent, down from the current restriction in statute of 1 percent. Furthermore, HCS HB 903 requires foreign entities to report sales, acquisitions or transfers of land to the Missouri attorney general and secretary of state. .
The bill also provides statutory authority to the Missouri attorney general to investigate acquisitions of agricultural land if there are any violations of the bill’s provisions, with any violation subject to divestiture under the current statute. In the bill, “Restrictive Country” is defined as China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela, and restricts those countries’ ownership of any land in Missouri.
The companion Senate bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jason Bean (R-Peach Orchard) said, “The work of Missouri farmers helps feed the world. As a lifelong farmer, I understand the importance of protecting markets for Missouri agriculture and value the hard work of our agriculture groups to develop these markets. I will always work to protect Missouri farmers and our proud heritage. This commonsense bill serves dual purposes by protecting production and promoting a safe and secure America. Our food security is our national security.”
Chinese farming corporations, owned entirely, or in part, by the Communist regime, has purchased farmland across the U.S. in recent year. Most of the land has been near sensitive military installations but other see it as an attempt to control U.S. food production in a conflict.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice