All across America, U.S. farmland is being gobbled up by foreign interests. So when we refer to “the heartland of America”, the truth is that vast stretches of that “heartland” is now owned by foreigners, and most Americans have no idea that this is happening. These days, a lot of people are warning about the “globalization” of the world economy, but in reality our own soil is rapidly being “globalized”. When farms are locally owned, the revenue that those farms take in tends to stay in local communities. But with foreign-owned farms there is no guarantee that will happen. And while there is plenty of food to go around this is not a major concern, but what happens when a food crisis erupts and these foreign-owned farms just keep sending their produce out of the country? There are some very serious national security concerns here, and they really aren’t being addressed. Instead, the amount of farmland owned by foreigners just continues to increase with each passing year.
Prior to seeing the headline to this article, how much U.S. farmland would you have guessed that foreigners now own?
Personally, I had no idea that foreigners now own nearly 30 million acres. The following comes from NPR…
Those are two words that are commonly used to stir up patriotic feelings. They are also words that can’t be be taken for granted, because today nearly 30 million acres of U.S. farmland are held by foreign investors. That number has doubled in the past two decades, which is raising alarm bells in farming communities.
How did we allow this to happen?
And actually laws regarding land ownership vary greatly from state to state. Some states have placed strict restrictions on foreign land ownership, while in other states it is “a free-for-all”…
“Texas is kind of a free-for-all, so they don’t have a limit on how much land can be owned,” say’s Ohio Farm Bureau’s Ty Higgins, “You look at Iowa and they restrict it — no land in Iowa is owned by a foreign entity.”
Ohio, like Texas, also has no restrictions, and nearly half a million acres of prime farmland are held by foreign-owned entities. In the northwestern corner of the state, below Toledo, companies from the Netherlands alone have purchased 64,000 acres for wind farms.
But even in states where there are restrictions, foreign entities can get around that by simply buying large corporations that own land.
For example, when the Chinese purchased Smithfield Foods in 2013 they instantly gained control over 146,000 acres of prime farmland. The following comes from Wikipedia…
Smithfield Foods, Inc., is a meat-processing company based in Smithfield, Virginia, in the United States, and a wholly owned subsidiary of WH Group of China. Founded in 1936 as the Smithfield Packing Company by Joseph W. Luter and his son, the company is the largest pig and pork producer in the world. In addition to owning over 500 farms in the US, Smithfield contracts with another 2,000 independent farms around the country to grow Smithfield’s pigs. Outside the US, the company has facilities in Mexico, Poland, Romania, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Globally the company employed 50,200 in 2016 and reported an annual revenue of $14 billion. Its 973,000-square-foot meat-processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, was said in 2000 to be the world’s largest, processing 32,000 pigs a day.
Then known as Shuanghui Group, WH Group purchased Smithfield Foods in 2013 for $4.72 billion, more than its market value. It was the largest Chinese acquisition of an American company to date. The acquisition of Smithfield’s 146,000 acres of land made WH Group, headquartered in Luohe, Henan province, one of the largest overseas owners of American farmland.[a]
Of course this hasn’t happened by accident.
The communist Chinese government has actually made the purchase of foreign agricultural assets a top national priority in recent years, and this has been reflected in a series of key documents…
The strategy is reflected in encouragements to invest abroad by various documents and articles issued by Chinese leaders. For example, a series of annual “Number one documents” from China’s communist party authorities stating rural policy have contained increasingly specific strategies for investment. A general exhortation to invest in agriculture overseas, issued in 2007, was followed by an initial surge in overseas farming ventures. In 2010, authorities called for supportive policies to encoura