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Exploring foreign ownership of U.S. farmland
USAgNet - 09/28/2023

The alarm bells are ringing in the Senate about foreign ownership of U.S. farmland. With 40 million acres, about 3% of the total, in foreign hands, Senators are questioning the implications for national security.

"Food security is national security," stated Senator Jon Tester. Foreign powers like China and Russia, owning U.S. soil, raise eyebrows and concerns. The increase of foreign ownership by 66% since 2010 only intensifies the debate.

Canada tops the list of foreign investors, followed by European countries. China's share is less than 1%, but the strategic placement of their investments, near military bases, draws attention and concern.

Legislation is in the works. Senators are pushing for amendments and new bills to restrict foreign ownership, especially from adversary nations. The Farmland Security Act of 2023 is one such proposal aiming to safeguard domestic agriculture.

However, it's not all smooth sailing. The current farm bill is set to expire, and frustration mounts over the lack of progress. Senator Joni Ernst voices the need for more "farm" in the farm bill and addresses the rise in foreign investment.

Trade relationships hang in the balance. Restrictions could lead to retaliation, affecting U.S. exports. With China being a significant importer of U.S. agricultural products, the stakes are high.

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