Missouri. – The Missouri House of Representatives voted on Thursday to bar entities from China and four other nations considered rivals from acquiring land in the state, on the grounds that it is necessary to protect fields from possible exposure to hostile control.
The Missouri bill, which is now moving to the Senate, is one of several bills advanced in state capitals this year amid international tensions culminating in the presence of a Chinese spy balloon over US soil.
“The balloon passed over the Capitol” in February, said Dean Blucher, Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives.
“We have to protect the sovereignty of Missouri, we have to protect the farmers of Missouri, and I think we need to protect our food supply.”
In addition to tackling foreign ownership in the United States, several states and the federal government recently banned the use of the popular TikTok app on government devices amid concerns that its Chinese-owned parent company may be providing data on users to the Chinese government.
Missouri is one of 14 states that already restrict foreign ownership of farmland. The new bill would lower the limit on foreign ownership from 1 percent to 0.5 percent of all farmland in the state.
It will also ban further land purchases by entities from China, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela from August 28. Of those states, only China currently co-owns farmland in Missouri.
Chinese entities own 172 square kilometers of farmland in Missouri as of 2021, just under half of the about 404 square kilometers of farmland owned by foreign entities, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Much of the land is used for hog farms in northern Missouri and is owned by a Chinese group that has acquired Smithfield Foods Inc. in 2013.
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