South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced on Dec. 13 new proposed legislation to restrict farmland purchases by foreign countries, namely China.
“With this new process, we will be able to prevent nations who hate us—like Communist China—from buying up our state’s agriculture land,” Noem said in a statement.
“We cannot allow the Chinese Communist Party to continue to buy up our nation’s food supply, so South Dakota will lead the charge on this vital national security issue.”
The proposed plan marked the latest step by the Republican governor to clamp down on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) influence in her state.
The statement revealed that Noem and state legislators planned to create a new board, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States–South Dakota, to review proposed agricultural land purchases by foreign entities. The board, which would consist of three ex officio members and two experts in the agricultural industry and national security, would recommend either approval or denial of land sales.
“We grow the world’s food, and we need to protect the security of that food supply for our kids,” said state Sen. Erin Tobin, a sponsor of the proposed legislation.
Besides food security concerns, lawmakers also view the land that could be owned by CCP-affiliated entities as problematic from a national security perspective.
“With vital national security resources like Ellsworth Air Force Base, we cannot afford for our enemies to purchase land in South Dakota,” said state Rep.-elect Gary Cammack, another sponsor of Noem’s proposal. “We want to keep this land in the hands of South Dakota agriculture producers.”
Chinese Purchase of US Farmland
The plan comes amid growing scrutiny of U.S. farmland being owned by Chinese investors. In September, 51 House Republicans raised national security concerns about the sale of 370 acres of farmland in North Dakota to Fufeng Group, an entity with close ties to the CCP.