Missouri Joins Growing List of States Moving to Restrict Chinese Farmland Ownership

Missouri State Capitol, Jefferson City, Missouri (Credit: Wiki Commons)

On Thursday, the Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill to restrict foreign ownership of farmland in the state. The bill will now head to the Missouri Senate for consideration.


While Missouri already restricts foreign ownership of agricultural land in the state to one percent, the new measure reduces that cap to .5 percent. The restriction applies to China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela, although China is presently the only one of those nations that owns Missouri farmland.

Chinese entities owned 42,596 acres (172 square kilometers) of Missouri agricultural land as of 2021 — just a little under half of the roughly 100,000 agricultural acres (404 square kilometers) owned by all foreign entities, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Much of that land is used for corporate hog farms in northern Missouri and owned by a Chinese conglomerate that purchased Smithfield Foods Inc. in 2013.

House Speaker Dean Plocher was asked about the measure during a press conference Thursday afternoon.



Reporter: Just a question about the foreign farm land. Right now, of those five listed countries that are banned, China’s actually the only one that owns farmland, so — in Missouri — so was this bill primarily spurred by tensions with China?

Spkr. Plocher: I think…if you look politically at what China has been doing to the United States, I mean, I think it sort of aggravates things. The balloon was just over this Capitol two weeks ago….We have to protect Missouri sovereignty and we have to protect Missouri farmers, and I think we need to protect our food supply. So, I mean, China…certainly, I don’t think we’re worried about Afghanistan owning land. North Korea, others that could be on the list. But, yeah, I don’t think China helps the problem, by sending a balloon over our airspace.


As noted by the Washington Post, there has been a noted uptick in the purchase of U.S. agricultural land by foreign entities:

Foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land rose significantly in the past decade — from less than 26 million acres (105,219 square kilometers) in 2011 to more than 40 million acres (161,874 square kilometers) in 2021, or 3.1% of all privately held agricultural land, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The federal agriculture agency uses a broader definition of foreign ownership of agricultural land than Missouri. It says foreign investors held about 433,000 acres (1,752 square kilometers) of agricultural land in Missouri in 2021, about 1.2% of all privately held agricultural land.

Missouri is not alone in the push to restrict foreign ownership of agricultural land. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signaled a similar move, and 14 states presently have some degree of restriction on it, while Alabama, Arkansas, California, and Indiana have proposed legislation for such restrictions in the works.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos