House Ag Committee discusses U.S.-China relationship

The House Ag Committee is taking a closer look into China’s connection to U.S. agriculture.

“The world is watching us today.”

In a hearing on Wednesday, U.S. trade ambassador and Indiana farmer Kip Tom told lawmakers China is stealing intellectual property from the United States to improve global ag production and become the top economy in the world.

“Several Chinese nationals were stealing proprietary seeds in our area from production fields and shipping them back to China. These Chinese nationals were caught and convicted, but how many weren’t caught?”

Tom said access to crop inputs throughout the supply chain and cyber security are other threats China poses to U.S. agriculture.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said China owns several U.S. chemical and food processing companies and now, China coming for U.S. ag land.

“Reports now show China owns 384,000 acres of U.S. ag land, valued at more than $2 billion. This should be alarming to all of us.”

South Dakota recently passed a new law that strengthens oversight on Foreign Ag Land Ownership and now Congress is working on ways to improve oversight of China’s involvement of U.S. agriculture.

U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern from Massachusetts said any exclusions shouldn’t target people based on their national origin or perceived national origin.

“There was a time in our history where we excluded people from landownership based on prejudice and unfounded suspicions of disloyalty. I hope we don’t go back to that.”

Chairman Glenn G.T. Thompson from Pennsylvania responded…

“This is about ties to the Chinese Communist Party. As I said in my opening statements, it’s not targeting any individuals of ethnic origin.”

Tom said lawmakers must find balance between enforcement and an open investment policy when considering solutions to these challenges. Watch the hearing.

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