GAINESVILLE, Ga. — China has been making attempts to purchase American agricultural land. The country has been buying American farming land since 2010. According to the New York Post, a government report stated that China owns land in the United States that can amount to twice the size of New York City. Last month, the USDA filed a report on foreign-held land. It said that the Chinese own 384,235 acres of farmland. Stakeholders from China own 0.9 percent of foreign-owned farmland in the United States.
The latest Chinese company to purchase land on American soil was Fufeng. Fufeng is a food manufacturer that purchased 300 acres of agricultural land in North Dakota. The Chinese company said they planned to build a wet corn milling and a biofermentation plant. Newsweek reported the farmland was valued at $2.1 billion. According to Fox News, Fufeng paid $700 million for 300 acres in North Dakota and the land was not up for sale. Three farmers originally owned the land. Local and state officials were concerned by the purchase because the Chinese company is linked to the Chinese Communist Party.
The farmland is located 12 miles from the nearest air base, Grand Forks Air Force Base. This particular Air Force base is home to top secret drone advancements. North Dakota officials cited national security concerns as they believe that the CCP could possibly surveille the nearby air base.
Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer from North Dakota took notice to a Chinese company buying up U.S. farmland near an air base. He said, “The China of today is not the China of decades ago. China has demonstrated real aggression.” Cramer sits on the Armed Services Committee and receives weekly security briefings. In regard to China, he said, “Stuff that I can’t share, but stuff that people should be concerned about.”
Fox News reported, as of Feb. 7, 2023, Grand Forks City Council voted down to let the company build their plant. The vote was unanimously 5-0 and resulted in chants of “USA.” The city denied building permits and infrastructure to Fufeng; however, they still own the land. Before the meeting, Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski, said with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, “So they have the land, but they have no ability to build anything on it.”
A week prior to Feb. 7, North Dakota’s senators made a letter written by Air Force Assistant Secretary Andrew Hunter available to the public. He shared the same concern for national security as other officials in North Dakota. He said, “Grand Forks Air Force Base is the center of military activities related to both air and space operations.” He went on to say in the letter, “While the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States concluded that it did not have jurisdiction, the Department’s view is unambiguous: the proposed project presents a significant threat to national security with both near and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area.
- For what reasons could China be buying U.S. farmland?
According to an article written in 2017 by Money Morning, China is in desperate need of farmland and food.
Soil degradation is moderate to severe in 40 percent of China. Due to the overuse of fertilizer, rigorous grazing and the dependence of biomass have hurt Chinese agriculture, according to report, adding that, only 11percent of Chinese land can be farmed, despite China’s huge land mass.