Members of Congress, along with presidential candidates (primarily Republicans) have been talking more frequently about the dangers of Chinese investors buying up American farmland. Some want to ban Chinese ownership of American land.
Chinese spy planes flying over the United States earlier this year– especially near a nuclear weapons storage facility at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana – heightened concerns about that country’s intentions.
A Chinese company also bought 300 acres of land near Grant Forks Air Force Base near Minot, North Dakota last June. The U.S. intelligence community speculated that the true purpose of the purchase was to provide an ideal location to spy on the U.S. military operations.
How much land in the United States do Chinese investors own? Is it nearly 200,000 acres as the USDA data showed last August? Is it more? The Land Report found that it’s actually nearly double what that USDA figure was last year. Here is the breakdown. An NBC News investigation detailed far less. The report found that Chinese companies own only about 1,400 acres in the U.S., approximately 1% of our country’s total.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, a former two-term governor in Iowa, acknowledged that it can be difficult to identify exactly how much American land Chinese companies are attempting to buy, particularly on the county level. “It’s complicated,” Vilsack acknowledged, “There’s work to be done.”