Washington, D.C. – Congressman Rick Crawford and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) today introduced the Agricultural Foreign Investment Transparency Act to address the national security threat of foreign adversaries buying up U.S. agricultural land.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), foreign ownership and investment in U.S. agricultural land has nearly doubled over the last decade, and a number of high profile Chinese acquisitions near Department of Defense and other federal installations indicate a need for greater transparency and oversight on these purchases.
In order to increase reporting and transparency and to combat malign influence of our foreign adversaries, this bill will update the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA) of 1978, which was established to develop a nationwide system for collecting information on foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land.
“The recent increase in Chinese purchases of U.S. farmland demonstrates the need for more proactive legislation and government transparency of these purchases. This legislation would shine a light on American agricultural land controlled by entities in communist China and elsewhere so we can evaluate the risk to our national security and implement an effective response. I’m pleased to join Rep. Stefanik in providing solutions to protect our food supply and those who produce it,” Crawford said.
“Food security is national security, and we cannot allow our foreign adversaries to assert any control over our land or agriculture industry,” Stefanik said. “I am proud to shine a light on the malign influence of the Chinese and our other foreign adversaries who are buying up our land, undermining our farmers, and threatening our nation’s security. I will continue to work to prevent our foreign adversaries from taking any ownership or control of the United States’ agriculture industry.”
Specifically, the Agricultural Foreign Investment Transparency Act will:
- Require the Secretary of Agriculture to make all new and existing AFIDA reports publicly available on the USDA website,
- Expand the material reported to AFIDA to include security interests and land leases of any period, including idle agricultural land, and
- Increase oversight and expand the scope of reporting to ensure there is a report of all idle land acquisitions, companies that issue equity securities that are foreign-traded, and all interest acquired, transferred, or held by a foreign person.
Representatives Tom Emmer (R-MN), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Jim Baird (R-IN), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Feenstra (R-IA), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Blake Moore (R-UT), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), and Mary Miller (R-IL) joined Stefanik and Crawford in introducing this bill.
Read the full bill text here.