Farm Progress

Senate amendment curtails foreign ag land purchases

Bill targets China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

July 26, 2023

2 Min Read
American flag on round hay bale in field
Getty Images

The U.S. Senate voted 91-7 in favor of amending the National Defense Authorization Act to prohibit China, Russia, North Korea and Iran from purchasing American farmland and agricultural companies. The measure was introduced by Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., with support from Sens. Jon Tester, D- Mont., Steve Daines, R- Mont., John Kennedy, R- La., and Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.

“China and Russia are our near-peer adversaries and North Korea and Iran are no friends of the United States,” Rounds says. “These four adversaries view America as their top competitor and only wish to gain advantage and opportunities to surveil our nation’s capabilities and resources. This commonsense provision will make our homeland more secure. I am pleased this amendment was included in this year’s NDAA, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to move this legislation across the finish line.”

The amendment includes a provision adding the Secretary of Agriculture to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. It also requires the president to submit a report to Congress if he issues a waiver authorizing agricultural land purchases from one of the four prohibited nations.

There has been a growing movement in both chambers of Congress to curtail foreign ag land purchases, particularly from China. That sentiment has grown after the U.S. shot down a Chinese spy balloon in February.

According to USDA data, Chinese investors and companies own more than 380,000 acres of American agricultural land. While that number represents a tiny percentage of American ag land, Chinese investment has increased in recent years.

“Allowing our foreign adversaries to invest in American farmland and agribusiness is a direct threat to our nation’s food supply,” Sen. Tester says. “Preventing our enemies from acquiring land near our sensitive military sites, like Malmstrom Air Force base in my home state of Montana, is a no brainer. And now we need to protect the rest of our food system.”

Six Democratic senators voted against the amendment. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was the only Republican to join them.

Read more about:

Land SalesLegislation

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like