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Mullin' It Over Column

Protecting Our Agricultural Land

Agriculture is a part of who we are in Oklahoma. Our farmers and ranchers provide everything from food to fuel and fabric for our communities and employ over 300,000 Oklahomans along the way. Generations of families have dedicated their livelihoods to our land, and we could not be more grateful for it. Recent reports of China acquiring U.S. farmland and agriculture companies is not only a threat to this industry but also to the security of our nation. 

Just like our energy sector, America cannot give ownership of our food supply to those who do not share our national security interests. We must stand up to our adversaries like China who will undercut our standing in the industry or exploit the geopolitical weakness of the Biden Administration. Our country is experiencing the challenges of a fractured supply chain, and we have learned the danger of overdependence on our adversaries for goods and resources. 

China owns over 352,140 acres of agricultural land in the United States. I have joined my Republican colleagues on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as a cosponsor of the Promoting Agricultural Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act. This legislation will prevent countries like China, Russia, and Iran from purchasing U.S. agriculture companies, and ensure the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is involved in reviewing any foreign purchase of American companies that may affect our agriculture sector.

A Chinese owned company recently purchased farmland near Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, home to some of America’s most sensitive military drone technology. From my position on the Intel Committee, this is extremely unsettling. 

Foreign investments in the U.S. are generally regulated by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). This committee is comprised of officials from across the U.S. government, however the Committee does not include a member from the USDA. The PASS Act will expand the committee to include the Secretary of Agriculture as a standing member. Doing so will ensure that American agriculture has a seat at the table when the Committee is making decisions involving our national security. 

Further, I have cosponsored the Agricultural Security Risk Review Act introduced by Congressman Frank Lucas from Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District. Like the PASS Act, this legislation would formally place the Secretary of Agriculture as a member of the CFIUS. 

In Oklahoma, we are blessed with the God-given resources to provide food security to our nation. We cannot allow our foremost military adversaries, like China, use our land and resources for their best interests.

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