Monday, November 29, 2021

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Why Are We Selling Farmland to China?


“This land is your land and this land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.” ~ Woodie Guthrie

Was it? Was this land “made for you and me,” or was it also made for foreign countries to buy up?

According to a May 28, 2019 article in US News & Report, nearly 30 million acres of U.S. farmland were owned by foreign countries as of that date. Insane? It gets worse. The number of foreign-owned acres of farmland had tripled in just 21 years — having stood at 10 million acres in 1998. Those who have been most concerned? Small- and medium-sized farmers, of course. Who didn’t see that coming?

Now it gets really insane.

China — yes, China — is among those foreign countries snapping up American farmland as fast as they can. As Politico reported last week:

Chinese firms have expanded their presence in American agriculture over the last decade by snapping up farmland and purchasing major agribusinesses, like pork processing giant Smithfield Foods.

By the start of 2020, Chinese owners controlled about 192,000 agricultural acres in the U.S., worth $1.9 billion, including land used for farming, ranching and forestry, according to the Agriculture Department.

Deborah J. Comstock, who describes herself as “a girl farmer” — she actually is a farmer — wrote in a 2020 op-ed for the Ionia Sentinel-Standard:

The goal of China’s Communist Party authorities suggest specific strategies to invest in agriculture overseas and to gain greater control over oilseed and grain products, to create policies to support facilities, equipment and inputs for agricultural production, and to create large multinational grain-trading conglomerates.

The revenues from these productions do not pass through the American commodities markets but, rather, flow through the foreign entities’ own distribution channels, directly to the home country.

This. Is. Insane. While Communist China’s ownership of farmland in America is a small part of total U.S. farmland of roughly 900 million acres, it is an increasing trend by the ChiComs. Shocked? Me, neither. So the question begs to be screamed:

Why are we selling ANY American land OR industry to CHINA?

Incredulously, as the “girl farmer” explained, many states have no regulations to stop such sales.

Many states have no regulations to stop the purchase of foreign countries from buying American farmlands.

For example, Ohio and Texas have no restrictions, and approximately half a million acres of prime farmland have been sold to foreign-owned entities. In Ohio, this, in part, translates to 64,000 acres owned by companies from the Netherlands.

Presently, the top foreign owners of U.S. land breaks down as follows, according to Comstock:

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting Tool (apps.investigatemidwest.org/afida/) provides information by state, county, and name regarding foreign-owned lands. For example, Canada is the top owner of American farmlands at 6.87 million acres; the Netherlands follows at 4.87 million acres; Germany with 1.94 million acres; the United Kingdom at 1.7 million acres; Italy with 1.4 million acres and France with 1.04 million acres. And the number is increasing.

Wait — is there perhaps a “savior”? [rolling-eyes emoji]

The “good news,” if we can call anything in Washington D.C. “good news,” as Politico also reported, is “bipartisan pressure” is building to stop foreign nationals from purchasing American farm operations and receiving taxpayer subsidies.

Look, I’m no Washington politician (Thank God), but how about we stop the sale of U.S. assets to China first? That should be a no-brainer (to the rational among us, that is). And then haggle over other “foreign nationals” and “taxpayer subsidies”?

During a speech to the Heritage Foundation earlier this month, former Vice President Mike Pence talked about the issue, as noted by Politico. “America cannot allow China to control our food supply,” Pence said, urging Joe Biden and Congress to “end all farm subsidies for land owned by foreign nationals.”

Well-intended, but again — farm subsidies should be the least of our concerns about the sale of U.S. assets to the Communists in Beijing. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) said as much when he warned during a recent House House Appropriations hearing, per Politico:

“The current trend in the U.S. is leading us toward the creation of a Chinese-owned agricultural land monopoly.”

C’mon, Dan. “China’s not gonna eat our lunch, man.” Relax, buddy.

As Politico worded it, the committee “unexpectedly adopted” Newhouse’s amendment to the Agriculture-FDA spending bill (H.R. 4356 (117)) that would block any new agricultural purchases by companies that are wholly or partly controlled by the Chinese government and bar Chinese-owned farms from tapping federal support programs.

The measure is expected to reach the House floor “before the end of July,” as part of a broader appropriations package, although the Senate has not yet drafted its own version of the spending bill.

That should be popcorn time if it goes as everything goes in “Nancy Pelosi’s House.”

Vladimir Ilich Lenin has been widely credited with having said, “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” While some historians doubt he said it, if he didn’t say it— he surely thought it.

Prove him wrong.




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