U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull) helped introduce the Agriculture Foreign Investment Transparency Act led by U.S. Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Rick Crawford (R-AR). Feenstra is an original cosponsor.
This legislation amends the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA) to actively monitor foreign purchases of American farmland and promote transparency in land acquisitions by foreign entities. Currently, AFIDA requires foreign investors to report their holdings or transactions to the Secretary of Agriculture within 90 days of acquisition. USDA’s Farm Service Agency implements the regulations required in AFIDA to establish a nationwide system for the collection of information pertaining to foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land.
“American farmland belongs to American farmers. Recent attempts by foreign entities – particularly the Chinese Communist Party – to purchase American farmland pose serious threats to our national, economic, and food security,” said Rep. Feenstra. “I am proud to help introduce the Agriculture Foreign Investment Transparency Act to properly record and publicize which countries and foreign interests are buying our land and prevent our foes from infiltrating our country through massive land acquisitions. This commonsense bill is a victory for American farmers, government transparency, and our national security.”
More specifically, this legislation requires the Secretary of Agriculture to create a section on USDA’s website to publicly post all AFIDA reports. It also expands definitions of “agricultural land” to include past land use to ensure idle lands acquisitions are reported; “foreign person” to include companies that issue equity securities that are foreign traded; and “interest” to cover all interest acquired, transferred, or held in agricultural lands by a foreign person.