NJ lawmaker wants to stop China from buying Garden State farmland
🌽 A proposed law would prohibit foreign governments from owning New Jersey farmland
🌽 The measure stipulates any farms currently owned by foreigners would have to be sold
🌽 The sponsor of the bill says we don’t want hostile governments controlling our food supply
With tensions rising with China, a New Jersey lawmaker is pushing a plan to make sure the Chinese are not allowed to start buying up agricultural land in the Garden State.
State Sen. Doug Steinhardt, R-Warren, has introduced a measure that would prohibit foreign ownership of New Jersey farmland amid rising concerns about a Chinese buying spree of American farms.
He said Chinese companies have spent billions of dollars in recent years purchasing farmland in Texas and North Dakota, and they also bought the largest port producer in the world, Virginia’s Smithfield Foods.
Food security is national security
He said our food security is tantamount to our national security and “I think we have a responsibility as Americans, as New Jerseyans, ... to do things that protect our state and national interest.”
Steinhardt said his legislation is focused on “preventing foreign governments with interests hostile to ours from owning and controlling critical infrastructure, in this case food-producing farmland in our state.”
He said you don’t have to be a foreign relations genius to figure this out.
He pointed out nearly all of the world’s penicillin G, used to treat bacterial infections, is now controlled by the Chinese, and other drugs including ibuprofen is also mostly produced in China along with many other types of medications.
Enemies should not control our food supply
“In the event of a conflict with China, does it make any sense to you that our food-producing lands or our supply lines for medications should be in the hands of our enemies?" he said.
The measure would allow a foreign government or person that already owns or holds an interest in agricultural land in Jersey, on the bill’s effective date, to continue to own or hold the interest in such land for a maximum of five years thereafter.
Within that five-year period, they would be required to sell or otherwise convey the ownership of, or interest in, the agricultural land to an individual, trust, corporation, partnership, or other business entity that is not a foreign government or foreign person, with a deed of easement attached to the land requiring the land to remain devoted to agricultural use.
Steinhardt stressed having food is just as important as having water to drink and air to breathe.
“It’s one of those things that we really can’t do without,” he said.
The proposed legislation also contains various provisions relating to contract law.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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