Although two senators identified the farm bill as a potential way to restrict foreign ownership of U.S. farmland, Senate Agriculture Committee chair Debbie Stabenow said on Wednesday that the annual defense authorization act seemed a better bet. Senators added language to the defense bill in July to prohibit China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea from purchasing U.S. farmland and agricultural companies.
Bipartisan bills in the House and Senate, inspired by rising international tensions, would block China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea from buying U.S. farmland or agricultural companies, said sponsors on Thursday.
China-based Fufeng Group may be forced to abandon plans for a corn milling plant in North Dakota, with the Air Force declaring the project "a significant threat to national security." The plant would be 12 miles from Grand Fork Air Force Base, a hub for air and space operations. Critics say the processing facility could be used to spy on Air Force activities.
The federal government will keep a closer eye on threats to the U.S. food supply, such as cyberattacks and pandemic diseases, under a national security memorandum signed by President Biden.
President Biden directed the Treasury-led committee that scrutinizes foreign investment in America to consider the national security impact any deals would have on U.S. technological leadership, including biotechnology and “elements of the agricultural industrial base that have implications for food security.” The executive order was issued amid rising concerns about Chinese purchases of U.S. land and companies.
The average American consumes more than a half-pound of meat each day, yet the country devotes limited thought or funding to protecting its livestock from diseases that could disrupt production or infect humans, said former Sen. Joe Lieberman during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing.
A special review panel of U.S. officials "has concluded there are no unresolved national security concerns" in the proposed purchase by German chemical giant Bayer of St. Louis-based Monsanto for $66 billion. "Bayer and Monsanto will continue to cooperate with the authorities in order to complete the transaction in early 2018," said a terse joint statement by the companies.
A day after warning of potential disruptions worldwide due to climate change, President Obama signed a memorandum "establishing that the impacts of climate change must be considered in the development of national security-related doctrine, policies and plans," said the White House. The memorandum created a Federal Climate and National Security Working Group involving 20 agencies in the job of identifying security priorities affected by climate change and to share information about how to respond to it.