Stabenow working on new foreign ag land bill

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow says she is writing a bill requiring stricter oversight of foreign ag land purchases.

The U.S. Senator from Michigan says the bill would make the ag secretary and commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration permanent members of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and require them to approve every transaction the interagency committee oversees.

“It would also add new criteria to ensure we are considering the long-term impact of foreign acquisitions on American food and our agricultural systems.”

Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member John Boozman, a U.S. Senator from Arkansas, tells Brownfield he has not seen the details of the bill, but he says foreign ag land purchases should be evaluated.

“Certainly, the areas around military bases should be precluded,” says Boozman. “I also am an advocate of agriculture being included in the CFIUS process, having agriculture weigh in.”

A separate bill already introduced in the U.S. Senate would blacklist China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from buying U.S. farmland. A U.S. Senator from South Dakota, John Thune, says he is supportive of this legislation.

“Clearly, China is trying to get a foothold around the world. The United States is no exception and I think we need to view that for what it is and look at these issues through the lens of if they create a national security risk.”

Boozman told Brownfield in April he would like to have a hearing on foreign ag land ownership to better understand the issue, but staff tells Brownfield a Senate Ag Committee hearing is not expected before June.

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