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Lost markets: the unintended consequence of banning foreign ag land ownership

The CEO of the Missouri Soybean Association says there could be unintended consequences if federal action is taken on foreign ag land ownership.

Gary Wheeler says if the bill introduced by U.S. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri last week is passed, it could negatively impact key U.S. markets, because there are several China-owned ag companies in the United States.

“We already know four years ago we had serious issues with China. We’ve been really working hard when it comes to domestic use and the domestic market. That’s part of our domestic market, yeah they might be foreign owned, but that’s part of our domestic market.”

Hawley’s bill would restrict China from owning any U.S. ag land and requires the ag land China owns in the United States to be sold within two years.

Wheeler says it would take another Market Facilitation Program to ensure U.S. farmers don’t feel major impacts of a lost market. He says lawmakers must find good middle ground on the issue.

“Let’s figure out a positive way to make this happen and protect our market at the same time. I think there are many people who don’t know what the implications could be and for a short period of time, this could be disasterous, especially for soybeans.”

Wheeler says the Missouri Legislature is taking a better approach to foreign ag land ownership by not completely banning land purchases or requiring existing owned land to be sold.

Brownfield interviewed Wheeler during the 2023 Commodity Classic.

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