U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Penn.) expressed his desire for a ban on entities affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from buying American farmland.
“I hope many of our colleagues agree the Chinese government and other U.S. Adversaries should own zero agricultural land in our country,” said Sen. Fetterman in a September meeting of the United States Agriculture Committee.
“We should take back all of their farmland,” Fetterman said.
As of 2021, China held 383,935 acres of American farmland, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Other sources suggest that this number is much higher, with the China Merchants Holding International Company (CMHI) claiming that China owns 700,000 acres of US farmland and 500,000 acres of industrial land.
In addition, a Maine Wire investigation has uncovered hundreds of properties in Maine where Asian Transnational Criminal Organizations have illegally grown vast amounts of marijuana.
Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King have both called on the Department of Justice to crack down on the illicit cannabis operations; however, Attorney General Merrick Garland has yet to respond to their request.
Fetterman said that Chinese ownership of American land is a national security issue, and a threat to the United States food supply.
Fetterman highlighted the negative impact of China’s land acquisition on Pennsylvania’s 56,000 struggling farmers.
“They don’t need to compete with foreign governments buying our land,” said Fetterman.
A USDA representative agreed with Fetterman about the serious threat that Chinese-owned farmland in the U.S poses to national security.
The USDA claims that it is doing everything within its power to address the issue, but that the real power to stop the CCP from purchasing American land lies with state and federal governments.
“The USDA does not have the authority to approve or decline purchases of land domestic or foreign,” said Montano Greene, speaking on behalf of the USDA.
Fetterman’s suggested ban on Chinese purchases of U.S land follows a Florida bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, as well as similar measures in Arkansas and Texas.
Gov. DeSantis’ bill banned all Chinese corporations, interests, or citizens from purchasing land in Florida.
Fetterman’s opposition to Chinese real estate purchases marks the second time in recent months that he has sided with Republicans.
The other instance is his support for Israel, about which he has been extremely vocal.
“For peace & a 2-state solution, Hamas must be destroyed & I fully support Israel’s right to do that,” Fetterman said on X.