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Ernst, Stabenow, Introduce FARMLAND Act

Senators Joni Ernst and Debbie Stabenow this week introduced The Foreign Agricultural Restrictions to Maintain Local Agriculture and National Defense, or FARMLAND Act.

The legislation would overhaul the current system that has allowed China’s malign influence to threaten American food security and national security by buying up agricultural land in the United States. Ernst, an Iowa Republican, says, “America needs to know how our foreign adversary has been allowed to use loopholes to attempt to exploit any potential vulnerability and assert control over our agriculture industry.” Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, adds, “This bill safeguards our nation’s farmland and food supply by overhauling the system for federal oversight of foreign land ownership.”

Foreign ownership and investment in U.S. agricultural land has nearly doubled over the last decade, according to USDA. Among other things, the FARMLAND Act would develop a publicly available database of agricultural land owned by foreign persons, and prohibit them from participating in Farm Service Agency programs.

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