Culpeper Star-Exponent: Rep. Spanberger leading bipartisan effort to protect agriculture industry

CULPEPER STAR EXPONENT, RICHARD HORNER

Rep. Abigail Spanberger led a bicameral, bipartisan effort to prevent improper foreign investment in America’s agricultural industry on Jan. 26. According to a press release, this would include improper investment from entities backed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Spanberger was joined by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and Representatives Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) and Pete Sessions (R-Texas) to present the Foreign Adversary Risk Management Act.

It would require the committee to acknowledge the importance of America’s agriculture industry and supply chains for a safe and secure nationwide food supply. The act would also add the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary as a member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The FARM Act would also require a report to Congress on current and potential foreign investments in the U.S. agricultural industry from the USDA and Government Accountability Office.

CFIUS is the governmental body that oversees the vetting process of foreign investment and acquisition of American companies. According to the press release, the committee currently does not directly consider the needs of the agriculture industry when reviewing foreign investment and ownership in domestic businesses.

Spanberger hopes that by bringing the voice of the Secretary of Agriculture to the table, the FARM Act would bring the concerns of farm families and producers to important conversations about the risks of foreign acquisitions and landholdings.

She continued to say that direct foreign investment in American agriculture and infrastructure has skyrocketed and the Chinese Communist Party has driven much of this growth. “In the face of significant foreign investment in American farmland, we need to recognize how foreign actors could pose potential threats to our economic strength, the competitiveness of our ag industry, and our national security. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee and a member of Congress focused on threats to our national security, I’m proud to help introduce this bipartisan, common sense legislation.”

Sen. Tuberville said these issues are why America’s agriculture community needs to have a permanent seat at the table when the government vets foreign investment in the country. He added that all parts of the agricultural supply chain should be added to the list of transactions reviewed by CFIUS and would be the first step toward ensuring America’s agricultural suppliers can keep food on tables across the country.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen an alarming increase in foreign purchases of farm land and food companies, particularly by China.

These foreign investments are now reaching every piece of the very large puzzle that makes up our agriculture industry, from farming and processing, to packaging and shipping.”

“Our adversaries, especially the Chinese Communist Party, continue to increase their presence in America’s food industry and agricultural supply chains,” said Rep. Jackson.

“Our national security is dependent on our food security, and we must take significant steps to identify adversaries that are manipulating critical facets of food production in our country. ”

Rep. Pete Sessions would say that as foreign investment in the American agriculture industry continues to grow at a rapid pace a large percentage of this land is owned by Chinese Communist Party backed investments. According to Sessions this poses a large national security risk, as it affords China the opportunity to undermine the country’s food and investment industries.

“The United States farmland is a critical piece of infrastructure and should continue to be recognized as such. Our food insecurity is a matter of national security. The FARM Act will give us the opportunity to better combat maligned foreign investments in agriculture and protect the American people. I am proud to stand next to my fellow members of Congress during this renewed effort to secure American interests.”

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