House Appropriations Committee Funding Bill Would Restrict Chinese Companies From Purchasing Farm Land

Through an appropriations bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday in a voice vote for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration would stop allowing Chinese businesses to buy more farmland in the United States. 

The committee’s press release explained that the appropriations bill for 2022 provides $26.55 billion, which is more than 10% higher than the 2021 bill. The funds address additional programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, building rural broadband, rebuilding public health and safety infrastructure, and addressing climate change impacts. 

The provision regarding China was proposed by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) in the committee meeting. The amendment says, “the Secretary of Agriculture shall take such actions as may be necessary to prohibit the purchase of agricultural land located in the United States by companies owned, in fill or in part, by the People’s Republic of China.”  It also said that farming land already owned by China or these companies will not be eligible for USDA programs. 

“The current trend in the United States is leading us toward the creation of a Chinese-owned agricultural land monopoly,” said Newhouse. “There are currently no federal safeguards against the creation of this monopoly.”

An article from Successful Farming explained that there are 896.6 million acres of farmland in the United States, and that according to Newhouse 192,000 acres are owned by Chinese investors.  The Representative considers this a national security problem and limiting purchases could help keep the food chain secure. . 

Rep. Grace Meng (R-N.Y.) spoke out against the amendment arguing that singling out China could have repercussions for Asian-Americans

A separate section in the bill also included provisions relating to raw and processed poultry shipped from China. 

On Thursday the full House of Representatives passed the Invest in America Act, a large bill previously covered by Law Street, with a 221-201 vote. The bill includes a provision allowing marijuana research companies to purchase marijuana from dispensaries in states where they are legal. Currently, the research facilities have to use marijuana grown in a few federally approved farms. The bill would also allow research into driving while impaired with marijuana.