In rural America, our farmland is our most valuable, yet finite, asset. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States is home to over two million farms spanning nearly 894 million acres. This expansive acreage has cemented our position as the third largest agriculture-producing country in the world. However, our abundance of desirable farmland also serves as a potential target for our enemies – especially China – to infiltrate our rural communities, hijack our agriculture supply chains, and buy up American farmland at an alarming pace. Serving on the both the House Agriculture Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, I am working hard to keep American farmland in the hands of American farmers – where it rightfully belongs.
In March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 407 to 26, my legislation – the Defend America’s Rural Energy Act – which would ban China from buying American farmland suitable for ethanol and biodiesel production. Every other row of corn and soybeans grown in Iowa and across the Midwest support our thriving ethanol and biodiesel industry, both of which lower fuel prices for our families and farmers and reduce our reliance on foreign countries for our energy needs. By preventing China from purchasing any farmland vital to our energy independence, we can uplift our farmers, lower gas prices for our families, and promote American-made energy over foreign oil and gas.
I also teamed up with Senator Joni Ernst to introduce the Foreign Agricultural Restrictions to Maintain Local Agriculture and National Defense (FARMLAND) Act, which enjoys bipartisan support and will be one of my top priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill. For far too long, our government has not administered the laws on the books to protect American farmland from acquisition by our foreign adversaries. If we fail to actively monitor foreign purchases of our farmland, we jeopardize our national, economic, energy, and food security.
Fortunately, this legislation corrects this failure of oversight by authorizing the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to review all purchases or leases of American farmland by foreign entities that exceeds $5,000,000 or 320 acres and requiring the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Homeland Security to publish an annual report outlining any threats or national security risks of foreign investment in American farmland. It would also direct the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a public database of all farmland owned by foreign governments and other entities to ensure that American people know exactly who owns our land.
China has no business buying up American farmland. Born and raised in rural Iowa, I am proud to lead the charge on these important policy priorities and defend our farmers and families from foreign land grabs by China. I firmly believe that American farmland belongs to American farmers, and I will continue to do everything in my power to protect our land for the next generation and beyond.
We are government together, and your thoughts and opinions matter to me. Please contact my office at Feenstra.House.Gov or by phone at 202-225-4426 if I can ever be of assistance. I am proud to represent our families, farmers, main street businesses, and rural communities in Congress.