North Carolina lawmakers unanimously pass a well overdue national security bill. This bill is critical for ensuring a safe, abundant, and affordable supply of food for residents of the state and the nation, and for preventing national security threats from foreign entities. Find out more about this groundbreaking legislation and its implications for North Carolina and the United States.
In a move aimed at protecting farmland and military bases from the potential control of adversarial foreign governments, lawmakers in North Carolina unanimously approved the North Carolina Farmland and Military Protection Act on Wednesday. The new legislation restricts state-controlled enterprises from China and other adversarial nations from owning land intended for agriculture or property near military bases.
The move by North Carolina lawmakers is part of a broader trend across the United States to curb Chinese investment in farmland, real estate, and other key industries. The Chinese Communist Party’s aggressive efforts to expand its global influence have raised alarm bells among lawmakers and intelligence officials in the U.S. and other Western countries.
Last year North Dakota struggled with similar problem
According to a report from the Department of Agriculture, North Carolina presently has more than 518,000 acres of farmland held by foreign entities, an amount which increased by nearly 11,000 acres between 2019 and 2020. Chinese entities own slightly less than 1% of acres held by foreigners in the United States.
Investors from Canada, meanwhile, own roughly 32% of agricultural and non-agricultural land held by foreigners, while citizens of other allies, such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, represent 31% of land held by foreigners.
The North Carolina Farmland and Military Protection Act mentioned military facilities such as Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base as locations where entities controlled by adversarial nations cannot purchase property. The bill also prohibits entities in which more than half of shares are controlled by China, Russia, Cuba, North Korea, or Venezuela from purchasing or leasing any land within 25 miles of a military installation or any agricultural land.
State Rep. Jennifer Balkcom, a Republican and the primary bill sponsor for the North Carolina Farmland and Military Protection Act, emphasized the importance of preserving North Carolina’s farmland from foreign governments that do not have America’s best interests in mind. As someone who grew up on a family farm, Balkcom understands the value of protecting the state’s agricultural land as one of its most important assets.
Chinese entities composed 6% of foreign residential real estate purchases in the United States between April 2021 and March 2022, according to an analysis from the National Association of Realtors. Some 3% of residential properties acquired by Chinese buyers were in North Carolina. This trend has raised concerns among lawmakers and intelligence officials about potential espionage and influence operations by the Chinese Communist Party.
The North Carolina Farmland and Military Protection Act is a significant step towards protecting the state’s critical assets from foreign control. By preventing state-controlled enterprises from China and other adversarial nations from owning land intended for agriculture or property near military bases, North Carolina is sending a clear message about its commitment to national security.
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