Bill to ban foreign adversaries from owning farmland returns to Capitol

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Originally published by WAFB9

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Editor’s Note: This piece by Chris Rosato features quotes from CSP Senior Analyst and Director for State Outreach, Christopher Holton.

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – While American businesses are not permitted to purchase farmland in foreign countries like China and Mexico, our government lets them purchase ours and lots of it. But a bill at the state legislature looks to put an end to all of that, at least here in Louisiana.

This bill was actually brought up last year and even made it to the governor’s desk. But former Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards vetoed it. Now lawmakers are bringing it back for another try.

“Overall, currently about 43.4 Million acres are foreign owned. Maine is the highest with 21.1% Of all their land is foreign owned,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Mike Strain.

In Louisiana, a little over 8% of our land is foreign owned, mostly by Canada. But the main concern is countries like China, who were referred to as potential bad actors.

“Where they buy land strategically or they buy land near our industrial bases or when they buy land next to our military bases,” Strain continued.

China owns land all over the U.S. but here at home, only one entity, a company named Syngenta, owns a couple hundred acres. The company may be based out of Sweden, but it’s owned by the Chinese. The bill does not prevent all foreign countries from owning land, but specifically foreign adversaries.

“Entities of countries like Russia, China, Iran, and north Korea. Those countries are very different from Canada and European friends who might own land here,” said Christopher Holton with the Center for Security Policy.

Like the Chinese owned Swedish company that currently owns land here, the big challenge will be reviewing the long list of corporations who do business here and finding out who actually owns those corporations.

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