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Chairman White Files Legislation Prohibiting Ownership of Agricultural Land by Foreign Governments & Companies

To The Leader

AUSTIN, Texas — State Representative James White filed House Bill 58 that prohibits any foreign individual, government, or business from purchasing or acquiring a title to agricultural land in the State of Texas. In a recent Politico article1, journalist Ryan McCrimmon highlighted the rising concerns of foreign governments and industries buying up large amounts of agricultural land in the United States.

The article highlights that by the end of 2019 foreign investors held interest in more than 35 million acres. The United States Department of Agriculture provides a report on Foreign Holdings of U.S. agricultural land and provides a state by state breakdown. In 20172, foreign investors held 3,081,094 acres of Texas land whereas in 20193, investors held 4,432,142. That is an increase of over 1 million acres in a 2 year period.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is increasingly looking to purchase agricultural land as the U.S. continues to heavily rely economically on the Chinese economy. A PBS News Hour video4 has further raised an alarm by highlighting that the CCP purchased one of the biggest pork producers that accounts for 25 percent of the pork produced in the U.S.

Additionally, reports are starting to come out that transnational gangs are showing an interest in purchasing agricultural land and property in South Texas. Cartels are increasingly looking at buying up these properties in efforts of strengthening their drug trafficking routes. One in particular is the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) which has as of late coordinated in illegal activities with the terrorist group Hezbollah. Activities are already taking place similar to those already uncovered in Axton, VA, that involved money wires, purchases of firearms, and acquisition of various stash houses5. A former Texas Department of Public Safety captain was quoted after the investigation stating that “within 120 hours of that investigation, the cartel in Mexico had all new houses rented and new leadership from Mexico en route.”

It is quite alarming when land and property is readily available to transnational gangs and hostile foreign governments. The sovereignty of the American people is undermined when we do not keep gangs and countries such as China in check. HB 58 prohibits these practices and ensures that American agricultural land remains in the hands of the American people.

“Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of our agricultural industry that drive the economic prosperity of all Texans and Americans. We must uphold the sovereignty of our great state and support our local agriculture,” said State Representative James White.