WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Mike Braun, Tommy Tuberville, and U.S. Representatives Ronny Jackson (R-TX-13), are leading a bicameral, bipartisan effort to protect America’s agricultural industry from improper foreign investment. The Congressmen introduced the Foreign Adversary Risk Management (FARM) Act to bolster the U.S. agriculture industry’s role on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the governmental body that oversees the vetting process of foreign investment and acquisition of American companies.
After first introducing the legislation in the 117th Congress, Senators Braun, Tuberville and Representative Jackson are renewing their call to combat foreign influence in the U.S. agriculture industry in the 118th Congress. Original cosponsors in the Senate include in full: Senators Cramer, Marshall, Lummis, and Scott (R-FL). Also leading the effort in the House are Representatives Gonzalez (D-TX-34), Sessions (R-TX-17), and Spanberger (D-VA-07).
“Many Hoosiers are concerned about foreign countries buying up farmland, and it is a serious national security and food security concern. I signed on to the FARM Act to protect American Agriculture from foreign interference.” – Sen. Braun
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen an alarming increase in foreign purchases of farm land and food companies, particularly by China. These foreign investments are now reaching every piece of the very large puzzle that makes up our agriculture industry, from farming and processing, to packaging and shipping. That’s why America’s agriculture community needs to have a permanent seat at the table when our government vets foreign investment in our country. Adding all parts of the agricultural supply chain to the list of transactions reviewed by CFIUS is the first step toward ensuring America’s agricultural suppliers can keep food on tables across the country.” – Sen. Tuberville
“Food security is national security. Our government must be diligent in conducting risk assessments of agriculture investments by foreign adversaries – for reasons including geopolitical strategy, U.S. supply chain protection, and support of American farmers and ranchers.” – Sen. Cramer
“The pandemic made it clear that our supply chains are vulnerable, and our reliance on foreign investment in the agriculture industry opens us up to further vulnerabilities. I will always be an advocate for Wyoming’s ranchers and farmers and am proud to join Senator Tuberville in introducing the FARM Act to protect our nation’s supply chain.” – Sen. Lummis
“One of our nation’s best defenses is a safe and secure food supply. As such, America’s agriculture industry must have a permanent seat at the table when it comes to considering foreign investments in the U.S. Foreign nationals owning ag lands, acquiring ag input companies, and becoming shareholders in ag processing companies stands to threaten our food supply. Our farmers, ranchers, and producers must respond to America’s needs first, which is why we must ensure all these foreign investments are properly vetted.” – Sen. Marshall
“If COVID taught us one thing, it is that we must protect and prioritize American supply chains. Bad actors, like the Chinese Communist Party, pose serious threats to our national security and cannot be allowed to interfere with critical assets like food security. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in supporting this bill which will bring more oversight and scrutiny to foreign investment—a big win for the agricultural supply chain and food security.” – Sen. Scott (R-FL)
“Today, America faces numerous threats to its national security, and the agricultural industry is no exception. Our adversaries, especially the Chinese Communist Party, continue to increase their presence in America’s food industry and agricultural supply chains. Our national security is dependent on our food security, and we must take significant steps to identify adversaries that are manipulating critical facets of food production in our country. America’s agricultural industry must be considered when determining national security threats from foreign investments moving forward. The protection of our food supply and its overarching supply chains are essential for the continued prosperity of our nation. Together, we will ensure that America’s agricultural industry remains strong and independent from foreign adverse influence.” – Rep. Jackson
“Foreign investment in the American agriculture industry continues to grow at a rapid pace. A large percentage of this land is owned by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) backed investments, which poses a large national security risk, as it affords China the opportunity to undermine our food and investment industries. The United States farmland is a critical piece of infrastructure and should continue to be recognized as such. Our food insecurity is a matter of national security. The FARM Act will give us the opportunity to better combat maligned foreign investments in agriculture and protect the American people. I am proud to stand next to my fellow members of Congress during this renewed effort to secure American interests.” – Rep. Sessions
“Direct foreign investment in American agriculture and infrastructure has skyrocketed — and the Chinese Communist Party has driven much of this growth. In the face of significant foreign investment in American farmland, we need to recognize how foreign actors could pose potential threats to our economic strength, the competitiveness of our ag industry, and our national security. By bringing the voice of the Secretary of Agriculture to the table, our FARM Act would bring the concerns of farm families and producers to important conversations about the risks of foreign acquisitions and landholdings. As a Member of the House Agriculture Committee and a Member of Congress focused on threats to our national security, I’m proud to help introduce this bipartisan, commonsense legislation.” – Rep. Spanberger
“Now more than ever, it is important to protect American supply chains. The FARM Act equips us to monitor foreign investment and protect the integrity of our food systems to ensure a food secure future for all Americans. I am proud to be joining my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to protect American agriculture and strengthen our food supply chain.” – Rep. Gonzalez
Over the past few years, the United States has experienced a rapid increase in foreign investment in the agricultural sector, particularly from China. Growing foreign investment in agriculture and other essential industries, like health care and energy, threaten our country’s national security and ability to survive. Our agricultural sector needs increased oversight and transparency to secure our country’s food supply.
The Foreign Adversary Risk Management (FARM) Act is a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would ensure the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) acknowledges the importance of our agricultural industry and agricultural supply chains for our nation’s safe and secure food supply.
CFIUS is authorized to oversee and review foreign investment and ownership in domestic businesses as it relates to national security. Currently, the Committee does not directly consider the needs of the agriculture industry when reviewing foreign investment and ownership in domestic businesses.
Specifically, the Foreign Adversary Risk Management (FARM) Act would:
- add the Secretary of Agriculture as a member to CFIUS;
- add language to protect the U.S. agriculture industry from foreign control through transactions, mergers, acquisitions, or agreements; designate agricultural supply chains as critical infrastructure and critical technologies,
- and report to Congress on current and potential foreign investments in the U.S. agricultural industry from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Government Accountability Office (GAO).
- The American agricultural industry has changed significantly over time due to rising foreign investment and consolidation in the industry. The federal government must shed light on global corporations becoming more involved with our domestic food supply and agricultural businesses.