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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    China is buying up American farms. Washington wants to crack down

    The push to drain China’s influence from the U.S. economy has reached America’s farm country, as congressional lawmakers from both parties are looking at measures to crack down on foreign purchases of prime agricultural real estate.


    House lawmakers recently advanced legislation to that effect, warning that China’s presence in the American food system poses a national security risk. And key Senate lawmakers have already shown interest in efforts to keep American farms in American hands.

    The debate over farm ownership comes amid broader efforts by Congress and the Biden administration to curb the nation’s economic reliance on China, especially in key industries like food, semiconductors and minerals deemed crucial to the supply chain. The call for tighter limits on who owns America’s farms has come from a wide range of political leaders, from former Vice President Mike Pence to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), after gaining momentum seeded in farm states.

    “America cannot allow China to control our food supply,” Pence said Wednesday during a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation, urging President Joe Biden and Congress to “end all farm subsidies for land owned by foreign nationals.”


    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.


    Still, that’s less than farmland owned by people from other nations like Canada and European countries, which account for millions of acres each. It’s also a small percentage of the nearly 900 million acres of total American farmland.


    But it’s the trend of increasing purchases and the buyers’ potential connections to the Chinese government that have lawmakers spooked.

    USDA reported in 2018 that China’s agricultural investments in other nations had grown more than tenfold since 2009. The Communist Party has actively supported investments in foreign agriculture as part of its “One Belt One Road” economic development plans, aiming to control a greater piece of China’s food supply chain.


    “The current trend in the U.S. is leading us toward the creation of a Chinese-owned agricultural land monopoly,” Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) warned during a recent House Appropriations hearing.


    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.


    That move followed a contentious debate over the potential consequences for Asian Americans if Congress adopted a provision aimed squarely at China. Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) said that if the amendment was about national security, buyers from other countries should also face similar restrictions. “It would perpetuate already rising anti-Asian hate,” Meng warned at the markup.

    But Meng, Newhouse and committee leaders indicated they would find a solution as the legislation winds through Congress. 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.


    “We are new in this process,” said Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), chair of the agriculture appropriations subcommittee. “I would suggest that we sit down and we work through it so we can accomplish our objective, but do it in a way that is sensitive to all those who might be somewhat offended by the approach.”


    Scrutiny of foreign-owned agricultural operations receiving taxpayer subsidies has also been rising in recent years after meatpacking conglomerates like the U.S. subsidiary of Brazilian-owned JBS received millions of dollars under the Trump administration’s trade bailout starting in 2018.

    Smithfield was also in line to receive money from the program, which was created to help U.S. farmers strung by trade retaliation from China and other competitors. But the company backed out of its contract with USDA after an outcry from lawmakers led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).


    The renewed focus on curbing foreign farm purchases comes as Biden and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack roll out a series of actions to bolster the food supply chain, following major disruptions caused by the pandemic.

    That effort includes greater scrutiny of large meat processing companies like JBS and Smithfield, as well as plans to tighten the requirements for meat to be labeled a “Product of the USA.”


    While lawmakers remain laser-focused on Chinese buyers, other nationals own much more agricultural property in the United States.


    Foreign investors by the end of 2019 held an interest in more than 35 million acres — an area bigger than New York State. The total has grown by an average 2.3 million acres per year since 2015, according to USDA data.


    A few states, including top agricultural centers like Iowa and Minnesota, already have varying restrictions on foreign ownership of their farmland. As a presidential candidate in 2019, Warren said she would support a national version of Iowa’s law along with safeguards against foreign investors using “fake American buyers” to circumvent the rules.


    Those seeking more restrictions say USDA’s numbers actually understate the amount of foreign control over American ag operations. The data is based on a 1978 law directing foreign nationals to report their U.S. agricultural holdings to USDA — a requirement that can be difficult for the department to enforce.


    For example, foreign investors can set up limited liability companies in the U.S. and designate an American owner to circumvent the reporting requirements while still controlling the operation behind the scenes, said Joe Maxwell, president of the progressive advocacy group Family Farm Action.


    “It’s a massive undertaking to verify who really owns [the land],” Maxwell said. “These foreign interests are pretty smart. They use different business structures to further conceal it.”


    While some states have strict laws in place, others are more open to foreign investments. Texas has the largest amount of foreign-held agricultural land, at 4.4 million acres, followed by Maine and Alabama, according to USDA.


    The money flowing into agricultural real estate from other countries also makes it difficult for new farmers in the U.S. to afford land as outside buyers bid up prices. Maxwell said that poses a big risk with an older generation of farmers set to exit the industry.


    “When this land changes hands, they’re going to gobble it up,” he said of foreign buyers. “These investments artificially increase the value of that land, which then denies young and beginning farmers opportunities to farm.”


    China is buying up American farms. Washington wants to crack down. - POLITICO

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    It irks me that any foreign farm owner is getting a US taxpayer funded farm subsidy.

    I will never buy Smithfield products again. Too bad, too, because they make very nice pork products.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat helge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    It irks me that any foreign farm owner is getting a US taxpayer funded farm subsidy.
    Aren't pretty much all of your farms started by europeans ? (just kidding)
    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    I will never buy Smithfield products again.
    Hats off

    Vote with your wallet.

    Only thing understood by the owners of your political system.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Good move, the chinkies will drown the land in toxic pesticides until it is useless and move on, like they did in Laos.

  5. #5
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    Didn't Trump propose such things as Keeping America, American?

  6. #6
    Im bored AF Backspin's Avatar
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    Ban them. Full stop. Don't just whinge about it. I heard shit about the Communist party of China buying gravel pits and assets here in Canada , in the 1990's. My dad dealt with ppl who knew all about it. But nobody does anything

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chico View Post
    Didn't Trump propose such things as Keeping America, American?
    While he was buying chinese shit for his hotels and his campaign?

    And his daughter was pulling favours to make her shit in Chinastan?

    Yes, I think he did.


  8. #8
    Chinese spy
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    Call it what you will- Newton's Third Law of Thermodynamics, the Law of Reciprocity, or tit for tat. It works both ways. Does the USA really want to incrementally shut itself out of the worlds largest market, estimated to over double US GDP in the next 30 years?

  9. #9
    still dealing with idioms
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Call it what you will- Newton's Third Law of Thermodynamics, the Law of Reciprocity, or tit for tat. It works both ways. Does the USA really want to incrementally shut itself out of the worlds largest market, estimated to over double US GDP in the next 30 years?
    How much chinese farm land does the USA own?

  10. #10
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    So globalisation is approved by the USA, when its to there advantage

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chico View Post
    So globalisation is approved by the USA, when its to there advantage
    I'm impressed you managed to use a big word like "globalisation"; if only you hadn't blown it with "its" and "there" and the redundant comma.


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chico View Post
    Didn't Trump propose such things as Keeping America, American?
    He talked about it, but, as usual, he didn't do anything.

  13. #13
    In Uranus
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    estimated to over double US GDP in the next 30 years?
    Where did you get that fantasy land number?


  14. #14
    Chinese spy
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    Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). By mid century, they also reckon India will be the worlds second largest economy.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). By mid century, they also reckon India will be the worlds second largest economy.
    Where is the link?

  16. #16
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    I've quoted it on TD already, a few weeks back. But Google 'PWC world report' or something- it should show up.

  17. #17
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    Presumably, an ameristani farmer or financial company sold the farms for a tidy sum.

    ameristanis are renowned for achieving a "good deal".

    Maybe they want to poison the water/frack for oil and gas!



    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    Too bad, too, because they make very nice pork products.
    Even with Chinese owners, eh?

    C'est la vie.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsnub View Post
    Where is the link?
    https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/research-insights/economy/the-world-in-2050.html

    Have a box of tissues handy.

    You're welcome.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    How much Chinese farm land does the USA own?
    Good question since in China no land is owned outright, it's only leased for a period of time (70-80 years).

  20. #20
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    It's obvious what the Chinese are up to their going to flood all the farm land and turn them into Paddy fields , The USA will be the main rice suppliers in the world , is this April 1

  21. #21
    A Cockless Wonder
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    Quote Originally Posted by snakeeyes View Post
    turn them into Paddy fields
    Only the Chinese would think that Leprechauns are edible...


  22. #22
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snakeeyes View Post
    It's obvious what the Chinese are up to their going to flood all the farm land and turn them into Paddy fields , The USA will be the main rice suppliers in the world , is this April 1
    The unhygienic chinkies have got a problem with swine flu, maybe they're just trying to get cheap, uninfected pigs.

    God help us if that fucking virus jumps to humans aand they cover that up as well. More fucking vaccines?!

    Swine fever surge hits small farms in China'''s Sichuan | Reuters

  23. #23
    still dealing with idioms
    Hugh Cow's Avatar
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    The rise of china will depend on its' diplomacy which is fairly non existent at the moment. Any military takeove of Taiwan will see a flight of capital and companies out of the country including hong Kong. They will once again become isolated from the west.

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat helge's Avatar
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    I find it hard to imagine the Taiwan.....thing

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    Any military takeove of Taiwan will see a flight of capital and companies out of the country including hong Kong.
    Maybe
    If they are forced out by their own governments.

    Capitalists won't leave a good deal.

    And they have their "say" in the western governments
    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    They will once again become isolated from the west.
    Maybe

    Still; I can't see it coming in the next decades.

    I have been wrong before though




    Once

  25. #25
    Im bored AF Backspin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Call it what you will- Newton's Third Law of Thermodynamics, the Law of Reciprocity, or tit for tat. It works both ways. Does the USA really want to incrementally shut itself out of the worlds largest market, estimated to over double US GDP in the next 30 years?

    Both countries would do themselves a favor if they stopped with the hyper globalism.

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