A report published by Politico calls attention to growing concern about a trend that has some of congress worried about a significant increase in farmland owned by China.
Tens-of-thousands of acres of agricultural land in Grant, Adams, Douglas, and Chelan county is owned by Canada, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany, according to the USDA. The report does not specifically cite Chinese ownership in the those counties, but there is an ‘other’ category that accounts for nearly 10,000 more thousand acres. Out of the four-county area, Adams County has the most foreign-owned agricultural land, by far, with 2,677 acres owned by Canada, 2,696 acres owned by the United Kingdom, and 8,473 acres owned by ‘other’ countries.
According to the USDA, China’s agricultural investments in other nations have grown more than tenfold since 2009, per Politico's report. Since the start of 2020, Politico reports that Chinese owners had control over 192,000 acres of American farmland.
“The current trend in the U.S. is leading us toward the creation of a Chinese-owned agricultural land monopoly,” Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) warned during a recent House Appropriations hearing.
The committee reportedly adopted Newhouse’s amendment to Agriculture-FDA spending (H.R. 4356 (117)). The amendment would stop new ag land purchases by business enterprises owned or partially owned by the Chinese government and block Chinese-owned farms from access to federal support programs.
Fellow lawmakers believe the amendment would unfairly target Asian Americans, perpetuating Asian hate crimes in the U.S.
Newhouse’s proposed amendment is expected to get consideration on the U.S. House floor before the end of July.
In total, 6.9 percent of Washington farmland is controlled and owned by foreign counties. International ownership of Washington's farming territories increased by over 15,000 acres from 2018 to 2019.