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

Nov 21, 2023
Press

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez hosts a listening session with farmers and producers in Long Beach in June.

Today, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), along with Reps. John Moolenaar (MI-02) and Dusty Johnson (SD-AL), introduced the bipartisan Farmland Security Act of 2023, a bill to increase transparency and oversight of foreign ownership of American farmland.

Foreign-owned agricultural acreage has nearly doubled in the past ten years, prompting concerns about the security risks this trend poses to domestic food systems, small family farms, and rural communities.

37.6 million acres of U.S. agricultural land, valued at over $60 billion, have been reported to the USDA as foreign investor-owned. However, these figures are likely an underestimation as there is a lack of oversight for foreign investors who evade reporting requirements for domestic farmland purchases.

The Farmland Security Act would help ensure all foreign investors and shell companies who buy American agricultural land report their holdings, strengthen penalties for those 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.

“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 Rep. 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.”

“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 Rep. 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.”

“America’s farmland is highly sought after, not only by U.S. producers, but by individuals and companies around the world,” said Rep. 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.”

Full text of the legislation is available here.

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