Senators Want to Ban Chinese Land Grabs

( – Democratic and Republican Senators agreed on March 22nd to put forward a bill that would prevent certain foreign governments or their agents from buying U.S. farmland.

The bill uses the term “foreign adversary,” and defines that term to mean the countries of Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

The Protecting America’s Agricultural Land from Foreign Harm Act would ban those countries or their agents from buying or leasing any agricultural land in the U.S. The ban would apply to both government-owned and privately-owned farmland.

Sponsor Mike Braun, a Republican Senator from Indiana, released a statement along with the bill, noting that “Chinese ownership of American farmland increased more than 20-fold in the past decade.”

The bill’s ban would not apply to US citizens, regardless of what countries they may have originally come from. Lawfully admitted immigrants would also be exempt (so long as no person is acting on behalf of a named foreign adversary).

The four countries named in the bill have been described as posing a threat to U.S. interests by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. That director, Avril Haines, said the four countries have shown they’re able and willing to promote their own interests at the expense of America’s national security and the interests of the U.S. and its allies.

Some Democrats support the bill as well. Braun pointed out that Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester is also sponsoring the bill. The other two sponsors are Republicans Marco Rubio (FL) and Tommy Tuberville (AL).

Tester’s support may have been prompted by the recent “balloon incident” in which a Chinese-made “weather” balloon was tracked across Canada, and then down through the United States, before being shot down after a week by a U.S. fighter jet. Montana residents first spotted the balloon as it floated over the Canadian border and through their state.

In addition to outlawing land buys from the named countries, the bill would also ban representatives of those countries from participating in U.S. Department of Agriculture programs.

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