Emmer sounds alarm on increase in Chinese purchases of U.S. farmland

Chinese businesses have significantly increased their ownership of U.S. farmland from 13,720 acres to 352,140 acres in just one decade, 2010 to 2020.

Rep. Tom Emmer visits a family farm in Minnesota. (Tom Emmer/Facebook)

Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota has formally shared serious concerns about Chinese purchases of American farmland.

In a letter Monday, Emmer and Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington called on U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to “provide Americans with the fullest possible picture of all foreign purchases of United States land.”

Citing a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, the congressmen noted that Chinese businesses have significantly increased their ownership of U.S. farmland from 13,720 acres to 352,140 acres in just one decade, 2010 to 2020.

Of course, the congressmen added, this is particularly troubling because “no major economic activity originating from [China] is transacted without the direct or indirect participation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”

“During this time of high inflation and supply chain challenges, food-producing land is more important than ever, and our constituents deserve to know as much as possible about foreign acquisition of domestic farmland …” the letter concluded.

In a tweet sharing a copy of the full letter, Emmer commented that “a country that cannot feed itself cannot survive.”

“We must not allow hostile foreign actors to take over America’s agricultural resources,” he added.

The day before Emmer sent the letter, reports emerged that a Chinese corn-milling company, Fufeng Group, gobbled up 300 acres of farmland just 20 minutes from the Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota.

Retired U.S. Army Gen. William Enyart told News Nation Now that China would be up in arms if the United States did something remotely similar in their country.

“Grand Forks Air Force Base used to be much larger before it downsized but, nonetheless, I don’t think the Chinese would like it one bit or would any way allow us to build an industrial processing plant within 20 miles of any of their military bases,” he told the outlet.

According to a National Association of Realtors report, Chinese investors spent $6.1 billion on American real estate in 2021 alone, much of which went towards homes in Florida and California. That was roughly $600 million more than Canadian investors, who spent the second-most on U.S. real estate among all foreigners that year.

“America’s ability to grow and produce resources here at home is our greatest strength,” Emmer said in a statement. “The growing trend of foreign nations, like China, buying up American farmland presents an insidious threat to our ability to feed our own people.”