Bill would bolster security in agriculture from foreign interference reintroduced

A bill has been reintroduced into the 118th Congress that would help protect the agriculture industry and farmland from foreign interference.

Kansas Senator Roger Marshall tells Brownfield the Foreign Adversary Risk Management Act, also known as the FARM Act, helps secure America’s food supply. “Food security is national security.  It’s something that has always been taken for granted, but it’s very important to the security of our country,” he says. “What we’ve seen over the last 5-10 years is foreign governments and owners coming into the ag industry.”

The FARM Act would place the USDA Secretary on the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), which overseas the vetting process of foreign investment and acquisition of American companies.

But, Marshall says, any legislation should not impact trade relationships. For example, “It’s just like Japan has investments in our country, and we have investments in theirs.  It’s been working out pretty nicely. But, now, we have some rogue nations that could influence this and take it in a bad direction and control too much of the market.”

Marshall says any foreign company needs to be properly vetted. “To say here is a ban on foreign ownership, that would be tough to do,” Marshall says. “But, we might want to look at countries who, for example, are on the terrorist watch list is to make sure those government entities aren’t buying anything.”

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), U.S. Representatives Ronny Jackson (R-TX-13), Pete Sessions (R-TX-17), and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) reintroduced the legislation last week after it had been before the 117th Congress.

Original cosponsors in the House include Representatives Jim Costa (D-CA-21), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-19), Mary Miller (R-IL-15), Ralph Norman (R-SC-05), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL-27), Rick Crawford (R-AR-01), Kat Cammack (R-FL-03), Kevin Hern (R-OK-01), Brian Babin (R-TX-36), August Pfluger (R-TX-11), Darrell Issa (R-CA-48), Zach Nunn (R-IA-03), James Baird (R-IN-04), Troy Nehls (R-TX-22), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Chris Stewart (R-UT-02), Ryan Zinke (R-MT-01), Ben Cline (R-VA-06), Michael Guest (R-MS-03), Jerry Carl (R-AL-01), Barry Moore (R-AL-02), John Rose (R-TN-06), Jake Ellzey (R-TX-06), Randy Weber (R-TX-14), Ashley Hinson (R-IA-02), Pat Fallon (R-TX-04), James Moylan (R-GU), and Randy Feenstra (R-IA-04).

Original cosponsors in the Senate include Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND),Roger Marshall (R-KS), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Rick Scott (R-FL).

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