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Rounds, Tester Lead Legislation to Blacklist Foreign Adversaries from Buying American Farmland and Agricultural Businesses

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) today introduced legislation that would blacklist China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from investing in, purchasing or otherwise acquiring land or businesses involved in agriculture.

“Protecting American farmland is critical to maintaining our national security,” said Rounds. “In my travels around South Dakota, I have heard from many farmers and ranchers who are concerned about foreign adversaries owning American farmland. This legislation makes certain American interests are protected by blacklisting foreign adversaries from purchasing land or businesses involved in agriculture.”

“As a third-generation Montana farmer, I’m not going to sit back and let our foreign adversaries weaken our national security by buying up American farmland,” said Tester. “That’s why I’m proud to be joining my friend Senator Rounds on this bipartisan effort to prevent foreign entities from acquiring U.S. farmland and ensure our farmers have a seat at the table when the government makes decisions impacting our national security.”

The Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act of 2023:

  • Prohibits China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from purchasing U.S. farmland and agricultural companies,
  • Adds the Secretary of Agriculture as a standing member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to consider agriculture needs when making determinations affecting our national security,
  • Requires the president to submit a report to Congress on any waiver granted to a prohibited country and
  • Requires reporting from the Secretary of Agriculture on the risk of foreign purchases of agricultural companies to the American agriculture sector.

This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and John Thune (R-S.D.).

The PASS Act is supported by the South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) and the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association.

“SDFU encourages other state farmers union organizations and NFU to endorse Senators Rounds and Testers’ bill S. 4786, Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act,” said Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union. “While I feel securing agriculture land owned by family farmers and ranchers is best served by ensuring they are profitable from the goods they produce and sell at the market place. Senators Rounds and Testers’ PASS bill can be a good second position for food and national security for all American families both consumers and producers alike.”

“We appreciate the efforts of Senator Rounds to protect Agricultural companies and US agricultural lands from foreign take-overs,” said Dustin Vining, President of South Dakota Sheep Growers Assocation. “Thank you for bringing attention to the dangers of foreign ownership as we try to preserve our domestic food and fiber supply which is so important to the SDSGA as well as the future of agriculture in South Dakota.”

Companion legislation has been introduced in the House by Representatives Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Rick Crawford (R-Ark.).

Click HERE for full bill text.