On Tuesday, the state of Arkansas issued a directive to a branch of a Chinese-owned corporation, mandating the relinquishment of 160 acres (equivalent to 774,400 square yards) of agricultural land.
This action is the initial implementation of a series of recently enacted legislations aimed at limiting foreign ownership of farmland throughout the nation.
According to Attorney General Tim Griffin, Northrup King Seed Co. is required to let go of its Craighead County property within a two-year timeframe, as mandated by legislation enacted by the Republican Congress and endorsed by Republican Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders previously this year.
Northrup is an arm of Syngenta Seeds, a corporation that is under the ownership of ChemChina, a state-owned entity based in China.
During a press conference held alongside Griffin to formally declare the transfer, Sanders affirmed “We will make sure that every company operating in Arkansas is a friend to Arkansas and good to hard-working Arkansans.”
BREAKING: Arkansas becomes the first state in the nation to force a Chinese state-owned company to give up its American land. pic.twitter.com/tsBV2dwP6N
— Leading Report (@LeadingReport) October 17, 2023
Syngenta has conveyed its dissatisfaction with the state’s determination pertaining to the land it has had in its possession since 1988.
According to the company’s official statement, there has been no instance when individuals from China have provided instructions to the company’s management about the procurement, leasing, or acquisition of land.
According to the company’s statement, “Our people in Arkansas are Americans led by Americans who care deeply about serving Arkansas farmers. This action hurts Arkansas farmers more than anyone else.”
There is a growing apprehension among numerous states regarding the issue of foreign ownership in the agricultural sector.
Before the current year, a total of fourteen states have implemented laws that either prohibited or placed limitations on foreign ownership and investment in the private agriculture sector. As to the National Agriculture Law Center at the University of Arkansas, the aforementioned figure has risen to encompass 24 states in the present year, as lawmakers in approximately 75% of states have deliberated over legislation pertaining to the subject matter.
According to Micah Brown, a staff attorney at the Agricultural Law Center, the recent enforcement action carried out by the attorney general of Arkansas marks the initial instance within a wave of newly implemented legislation, several of which are especially aimed at regulating investments originating from China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
According to Brown, “Historically, states that had a law prior to this year did not enforce it vigorously.”
In the event that a firm fails to comply with state legislation regarding the sale of land, the state of Arkansas possesses the legal authority to initiate a lawsuit against said company in a court of law. Griffin did not provide any indication regarding the state’s identification of any further foreign-owned properties that might potentially be subjected to similar measures under the newly enacted legislation.
Pursuant to a legislative enactment in 2021, Syngenta incurred a fine of $280,000 from the state authorities due to its noncompliance with the obligation to disclose its foreign ownership.
The organization is required to remit the fine within a period of 30 days. On Tuesday, Syngenta made an announcement regarding the amendment of its filing with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in order to accurately document the alteration in ownership. Additionally, the business has sent a corresponding copy of the modified filing to the relevant state authority.
Griffin expressed his unwavering belief in the company’s ability to sell the land and fulfill the punishment, while refraining from disclosing any potential communication with Syngenta.
According to Brown, the surge in state legislation that imposes limitations on land ownership by certain foreign individuals has become a political flashpoint,” in the political arena. Brown links this phenomenon to instances when entities associated with China have acquired land in close proximity to military bases located in North Dakota and Texas.
The occurrence in February of a purported Chinese surveillance balloon traversing the United States prompted inquiries over the imposition of limitations inside specific states.
In July we reported on the CCP farmland situation:
“One American farmer raised a red flag that China is still penetrating “many, many acres” of rural America despite Congress’ progress in crafting legislation to address the issue.”
“They’re tapping into the American food structure and this country. And we should be looking at that as food security, people. Because they’re tapping into American farms and tapping into the hog industry, all of these industries that China is quietly taking over here in the United States,” John Boyd Jr., the president of the National Black Farmers Association, told “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” on Fox News on Tuesday.
Concerns about Chinese-owned corporations acquiring substantial tracts of country farmland in states like Oklahoma, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Virginia have been raised by farmers for over two years now.
According to USDA statistics from 2021, China apparently owns 383,000 acres of American farmland, with its capital investments purportedly bringing in $1.9 billion that year.
As noted by Boyd Jr., Chinese-backed businesses with large budgets are also prevailing over American farmers for fresh land.
“Persons like myself who maybe can pay $4,000 or $5,000 an acre, some of these farms are being run up to $15,000 and $20,000 an acre,” said Boyd Jr. “Now, how many American farmers that you know in the United States can afford $20,000 an acre for good farm ground? Because I can’t.”
As China continues to acquire access to land near key infrastructure and military bases, the fourth-gen Black farmer accused Biden’s administration of being “asleep at the wheel” and called for action to stop the CCP.
“While we are losing farms, this administration hasn’t done anything to stop farm foreclosures in this country. We have many of our members who are, right now, facing farm foreclosure, but we had $1 billion to help Chinese farmers and other entities in Russia,” Boyd Jr. accused.
“But they can come over here and purchase our farmland and purchase our infrastructure and tap into the American government here,” the American farmer railed. “Something is terribly wrong with this.”
The “Protecting America’s Agricultural Land from Foreign Harm Act,” a law that would prevent foreign foes like China from purchasing U.S. farmland, was introduced in May by both Republicans and Democrats in a bipartisan effort.
The bill would forbid actors linked with the repressive regimes from taking part in specific USDA-mandated programs in addition to blocking purchases of U.S. farmland by people and businesses connected to the Chinese Communist Party, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
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