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China Buying US Farmland: Should we care?

There has been a growing trend of Chinese companies buying up farmland in the Midwest and Western regions of the United States in recent years. This trend has raised concerns among US policymakers and farmers, who fear that foreign ownership of US farmland could lead to the loss of control over the country's food supply.

Chinese companies have been investing in US farmland for various reasons, including securing food supplies for China's growing population, diversifying their investments, and acquiring technology and knowledge about modern farming practices. Some of the major Chinese companies that have purchased US farmland include the Dalian Wanda Group, the China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina), and the WH Group, formerly known as the Shuanghui Group.

According to a report by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, Chinese companies have acquired or invested in more than 200,000 acres of US farmland since 2013. These purchases have primarily been in the Midwest and Western states, with the highest concentrations of Chinese-owned farmland in Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas.

The US government has expressed concerns about the Chinese acquisition of US farmland, particularly regarding national security issues and the potential for China to use US farmland to produce food for export back to China. In 2020, the US Congress passed a bill that strengthened the review process for foreign investment in US agricultural land.

China is the world's most populous country and has a growing demand for food. In recent years, China has become a significant importer of US agricultural products, particularly soybeans. In 2020, China purchased over $25 billion worth of US agricultural products, including soybeans, corn, and pork.

Chinese companies are also buying farmland in other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil. The Australian government has taken steps to limit foreign ownership of farmland, including the creation of a register of foreign-owned agricultural land.

The Chinese purchase of US farmland has had an impact on US farm land prices. According to a report by the USDA, farmland values in the Midwest and Great Plains regions increased by 6.8% in 2021, driven by strong demand from farmers and investors. However, it is unclear what impact a potential sale of Chinese-owned farmland would have on US farmland values.

In conclusion, the Chinese acquisition of US farmland has raised concerns among policymakers and farmers, but it is a complex issue with no easy solutions. As the world's population continues to grow, the demand for food is expected to increase, which could lead to further foreign investment in US farmland. It will be important for policymakers to balance the economic benefits of foreign investment with the need to protect national security and US food sovereignty.

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