Mississippi State Rep. Becky Currie (left) and Steve Yates (right)
Why would we allow our enemy to own and control the most valuable resource in the world?
Mississippi’s agricultural land is a strategic asset providing food security and independence to the United States, and our farmers are an essential part of the Nation’s fabric. Mississippi has approximately 34,700 farms that cover 10.4 million acres and employ 17.4% of the state’s workforce. Our crops, including poultry, eggs, soybeans, corn, and cotton, contribute $9.72 billion to the economy, supporting communities throughout the state.
Agriculture also offers a way for communities to build and maintain strong relationships. Many farmers are deeply rooted in their communities and take pride in their work. Mississippi is home to a vibrant agricultural community that has existed for generations. As a result, there is a strong sense of pride among farmers, who continue to work tirelessly to provide quality products for their customers. Mississippi farmers are a vital part of the state’s culture, from the farmers’ markets to the roadside stands.
However, there is a threat to Mississippi agricultural land. Mississippians must be vigilant because foreign adversaries own a significant amount of U.S. agricultural land. Allied countries, such as Canada, the Netherlands, and Italy, hold large tracts of U.S. land, which does not necessarily impact our national security. On the other hand, countries such as Communist China, which is spreading malign influence at all levels of our society to undermine us, should not be allowed to acquire it– especially in Mississippi.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is positioning China as an adversary of the U.S., politically and economically, with the stated intention of overtaking us. Securing and dominating world food supply chains is an integral part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which also promotes hoarding computer chips, minerals, and other sensitive commodities. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports, Chinese investors’ holdings of U.S. agricultural land surged from 13,720 acres in 2010 to 352,140 acres in 2020 — a stunning 5,300% increase. In total, this land is worth approximately $1.9 billion. The average U.S. farm is 445 acres, so nearly 800 American families could farm this acreage.
Why would we allow our enemy to own and control the most valuable resource in the world? Throughout history, wars have been fought, and lives lost over the control of land and resources. Each year, our land becomes more valuable as our population grows. This is a national security issue and food security issue, and we owe it to our children and grandchildren to fix this issue now.
Preventing CCP control of U.S. agricultural land is possible through legislative action and has stood up to constitutional muster. At least 12 states, including Arizona, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin, have already enacted laws effectively preventing the CCP from controlling agricultural land. At least six, including Mississippi, have introduced legislation in the 2023 session.
Securing Mississippi’s land — America’s land — is not a partisan issue. Every American should be concerned about securing our food supply from threats to America. In August 2022, the Democrat-supermajority California legislature passed the Food and Farm Security Act, which would have prohibited foreign governments from purchasing, acquiring, leasing, or holding agricultural land.
The CCP poses a unique threat to our civil society, including our precious land resources and food supply. The best way to secure our Nation is through economic prosperity. Therefore, we must fortify our supply chains and ensure national self-reliance to marginalize the CCP and its strategies to subvert us. Mississippi should lead the way in this mission by banning the CCP and its subsidiaries from controlling the agricultural land rightfully belonging to our citizens.