Thursday, July 20, 2023

Lucas: foreign ownership of farmland a detriment to national security

Foreign Ownership of Farmland A Detriment to National Security
by Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03)

Everyone in Oklahoma is keenly aware that food security is national security. A nation that cannot feed itself cannot hope to defend itself. 

Because of this, it is essential we protect our farmland, especially from foreign adversaries. For far too long we’ve seen entities - Chinese in particular - coming over and buying our agricultural land. That’s why I’ve led on several fronts to address this troubling issue. 

I’ve joined my colleagues on the House Committee on Agriculture to crack down on foreign acquisition of farmland. We have sent multiple letters to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to not only disclose their findings of foreign investments, but to also conduct greater oversight of foreign investments in U.S. agricultural land.

I’ve also spent years fighting to give the Secretary of Agriculture a long-overdue seat at the table when it comes to national security. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) is the federal committee responsible for reviewing the national security implications of foreign investments. Notably absent from this committee is the Secretary of Agriculture. As foreign adversaries continue to buy American farmland, the Secretary of Agriculture’s expertise is sorely needed on this committee. And as a senior member on the House Financial Services Committee, which has oversight over CFIUS, I’ve used my position to point out this monumental absence.

To confront this, I’ve introduced the Agricultural Security Risk Review Act over the last several Congresses, which would add the Secretary of Agriculture as a member of the CFIUS board. In doing so, the board would finally be equipped with the expertise needed to identify potential threats to food security. 

Lastly, I recently joined Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI-08), Chairman of the Select Committee on the CCP, in introducing the bipartisan Protecting U.S. Farmland and Sensitive Sites From Foreign Adversaries Act. This critical piece of legislation gives CFIUS greater jurisdiction over land purchases and imposes special guards against foreign adversary purchases of American land near sensitive sites. It also includes my longstanding priority to add the Secretary of Agriculture on the CFIUS board. 

As more and more people are waking up to the alarming trend of foreign investments on agricultural land, I will continue to fight to protect our sovereignty and national security. 


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