John Moolenaar

11/28/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/28/2023 13:27

Moolenaar, Gluesenkamp Perez, Johnson Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect American Farmland and Rural Communities

Congressman John Moolenaar (R-MI), Congresswoman Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA), and Congressman Dusty Johnson (R-SD) have introduced the bipartisan Farmland Security Act of 2023, a bill to increase transparency and oversight of foreign ownership of American farmland.

"I am proud to introduce the Farmland Security Act to help protect Michigan farms and our food supply. This legislation promotes transparency to the American people on foreign shell corporations and increases penalties for foreign entities failing to accurately report their land ownership," said Congressman Moolenaar. "Farmland is a vital asset for our food supply, economy, and national security. It is more important than ever that we have the structures in place to review and assess foreign ownership."

"When foreign investors buy up broad swaths of American farmland, our food access and national security are put at risk - all at a time when we import a significant chunk of the fruits and vegetables we consume each day," said Congresswoman Gluesenkamp Perez. "This bipartisan legislation would help us maintain control over our food supply and ensure family farms across Southwest Washington don't get squeezed out."

"America's farmland is highly sought after, not only by U.S. producers, but by individuals and companies around the world," said Congressman Johnson. "If our ag land is sold into the wrong hands, we could face threats to our food security and national security. This bill puts provisions in place to give a more detailed analysis of who is buying our farmland so we can protect our rural communities, producers, food security, and national security."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reported foreign-owned agricultural acreage has nearly doubled in the past ten years to over 37.6 million acres, valued at over $60 billion. However, these figures likely underestimate the total, as some foreign investors evade reporting requirements.

The Farmland Security Act would help ensure all foreign investors and shell companies who buy American agricultural land report their holdings. It would also strengthen penalties for landowners who evade filing, and invest in research to better understand the impacts of this ownership.

Specifically, this legislation would:

  • Impose new financial penalties on foreign owners or shell companies who fail to report or misreport their acreage.
  • Require research into foreign ownership of agricultural production capacity and foreign participation in agricultural economic activity in the United States.
  • Direct the USDA to conduct an annual compliance audit to ensure accuracy and provide annual training to state and county level USDA staff on identifying non-reporting foreign-owned agricultural land.

Full text of the legislation is available here.