The recent investigation into Joe Biden’s administration has uncovered a major failure in tracking foreign ownership of U.S. farmland. It has been revealed that the second-largest foreign landowner is a member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has failed to consistently share timely data on foreign investments in farmland, as required by the 1978 Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA).
According to the GAO report, the USDA’s lack of compliance with AFIDA has led to potential national security risks, as the agency is unable to provide reliable information to Congress or the public about the extent of foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land. The report also raised concerns about the foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land close to sensitive military installations, highlighting the potential threats to national security.
This report confirms our worst fear: the USDA has no idea who owns what land and where, and they have no plan to rectify it.
Food security is national security, and we cannot allow foreign adversaries to influence our food supply while we stick our heads in the sand. https://t.co/cUXs2fsGi1
— Rep. Dan Newhouse (@RepNewhouse) January 19, 2024
The investigation comes on the heels of the shocking revelation that a Chinese billionaire, Tianqiao Chen, has been quietly amassing nearly 200,000 acres of Oregon land, making him the second-largest foreign owner of U.S. farmland. This alarming revelation has sparked outrage among lawmakers, with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) criticizing the Biden administration for failing to protect agricultural land from being bought up by “foreign adversaries.”
While the land purchase took place under the Obama administration, the failure to disclose the foreign ownership of U.S. farmland persisted during former President Donald Trump’s tenure as well. Despite these developments, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) emphasized the need for Congress to take action to protect American agricultural security and prevent foreign adversaries from gaining control of the country’s food supply.
In response to the GAO report, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) expressed grave concerns about the USDA’s inability to identify the foreign actors investing in over 40 million acres of U.S. farmland. He pledged to introduce measures aimed at addressing the internal reporting and data management issues at the USDA to ensure transparency and safeguard the nation’s food security.
This alarming situation underscores the urgency of addressing the lack of oversight and transparency in foreign ownership of U.S. farmland. The failure to track and disclose these investments poses significant risks to national security and the integrity of America’s agricultural industry. Lawmakers must prioritize measures to rectify this critical flaw and protect the nation’s food supply from foreign interference.