The acquisition of that much acreage is concerning for Texas lawmakers, particularly for state Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who told The Epoch Times in an exclusive interview on Nov. 16 that it presents a national security threat and needs to be stopped.
“It should be a matter of urgency; the stupidest thing we could do is let the Chinese buy our farmland,” Miller said. “It would give them access to our food sources or electric grid ... there's no good reason to allow this to happen.”
“They could be spying on our military, performing espionage,” said Miller, who's working with lawmakers to create a national ban on foreign-owned companies purchasing land near critical infrastructure sites.
Chinese Firms Purchase More FarmlandIn the summer of 2022, more lawmakers became alarmed when it was revealed that a Chinese agriculture company called the Fufeng Group, which has ties to the CCP, purchased hundreds of acres of farmland in Grand Forks, North Dakota, near another Air Force base.
The Grand Forks Air Force Base is home to a low-Earth orbit satellite mission that would advance military intelligence and surveillance, according to Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.).
“We’ve been working with SDA [Space Development Agency] and the Air Force to secure this new mission, which is essential for our nation to stay ahead of our adversaries in developing critical new technologies,” he said.
Hoeven said the new mission will serve as “the backbone for all U.S. military communications across the globe.”
States RespondSince the pattern of Chinese companies buying up U.S. farmland has been brought to light, several states have begun trying to stop the practice.
“There are eight states that forbid it now, there’s 34 that have some kind of restrictions, but we really need a national policy over this,” Miller said.
“We hail from the greatest country in the world, and there is simply no reason we should be reliant on a communist country like China for our food supply. If we begin to cede the responsibility over our food supply chain to an adversarial foreign nation, we could be forced into exporting food that is grown within our own borders and meant for our own use,” Newhouse said in a statement.
The Extent of China's Presence UnclearIt’s unclear exactly how much farmland Chinese companies have purchased in the United States due to a lack of government transparency on farm sales. A 1978 law called the Agriculture Foreign Investment Disclosure Act requires those who purchase farmland in the United States to report the purchases to the Department of Agriculture. However, the data on those purchases hasn't been well kept, according to media sources.
But as tensions continue to grow between the United States and China, several legislators and state officials such as Miller say the time to reveal the true foreign owners of farmland in the United States is now.
“They could contaminate several truckloads of wheat or corn or whatever they're raising on this agriculture property and steal trade secrets or even try to shut off the electric grid,” Miller said.
“We should just use a little cowboy logic and say, ‘Hey, if we can't buy farmland in your country, we can't see any good reason that you should buy any of ours.'”