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Law Prohibiting China from Buying Farmland Sent to Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 41 million acres of the country's agricultural land is owned by foreign entities

Virginia is set to ban foreign adversaries from buying any agricultural land in the state through a new law.

Both the House of Delegates and the state Senate approved SB 1438, which was sent to Governor Glenn Youngkin on Feb. 27. Youngin has already pledged to sign the bill into law. 

“China has one goal: world domination,” Youngkin said during a Feb. 26 appearance on Fox News. “To do it at the expense of the United States, they’re using every avenue possible from saber-rattling with their military to surveillance with balloons and TikTok. And from trying to infiltrate our economic supply chain by using Trojan horse relationships like the one they have engineered with Ford Motor Co.”

“We’re going to make sure that our agricultural farmland is not purchased by the CCP,” he added. “We’ve got a bill now through on a bipartisan basis, that I will sign, that will keep China from buying our agricultural farmland. Particularly next to our nationally strategic assets like the Pentagon and Quantico and the largest naval base in the world.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that foreign entities owned at least 14,000 acres of farmland in Virginia and about 41 million acres of national agricultural land – 3.1% of all privately owned land – in 2021, per The Hill.   

The exact amount of American land owned by foreign individuals or companies may be unknown.

Foreign land ownership reporting to the USDA has been largely an honor system; the reporting requirements aren’t always enforced,” reports NTD. “While the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA) stipulates that the penalty for failing to report foreign land ownership can be as much as a quarter of the property’s market value, in reality, the USDA often reduces the penalty amount significantly because of concern over disincentivizing filing.”

The U.S. currently recognizes The People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Cuba, the Islamic Republic of Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuelan politician Nicolás Maduro as foreign adversaries

The bill, sponsored by Virginia Senator Richard Stuart, would go into immediate effect once signed by Youngkin. However, it would not void purchases made prior to 2023.

Similar efforts to prevent Chinese entities from buying American farmland are already underway at the federal level as well.

Congressman Dan Newhouse of Washington introduced the Prohibition of Agricultural Land for the People’s Republic of China Act in May of 2022 during the 117th Congress. Newhouse reintroduced the bill on Feb. 2, 2023. If enacted, the law would prohibit the sale of public or private land to any foreign nationals with a connection to The People’s Republic of China. Currently, 37 House Republicans are co-sponsoring  House Resolution 7892. 

“The United States is engaged in a great power struggle with the CCP, and we must respond with tough policies that will protect our farmland and food supply chain,” Newhouse said in a statement. “We should be taking every action we can to strengthen our domestic production while preventing our nation’s strongest adversaries from having an advantage over our supply chain. I am proud to introduce this legislation alongside many of my House colleagues to keep the CCP from gaining a foothold from within our own borders.”

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