Speaking At Senate Ag Hearing, Tester Presses Colleagues to Support His Bipartisan Legislation to Protect American Farmland From Foreign Adversaries
Senator delivers opening remarks at Senate Agriculture Committee on bill to ban China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran from acquiring U.S. farmland, agribusiness
As part of his continued push to protect America’s food security and national security, U.S. Senator Jon Tester delivered opening remarks at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing to urge his Senate colleagues to support his bipartisan legislation to prevent foreign adversaries – China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran – from acquiring American farmland or agribusiness.
Tester began his remarks by emphasizing that as a third-generation Montana farmer, he knows firsthand that American food security and national security go hand-in-hand: “Look, many of, you know, in fact, I think all of you know, I have a real life outside the Senate. I’m a farmer,”said Tester. “I can tell you that everybody in this room also knows that food security is national security.”
Tester then spoke about the importance of his commonsense, bipartisan legislation that would prevent foreign adversaries from obtaining American farmland to disrupt our food supply or spy on American soil.
“When we’re talking about somebody like the Chinese Communist Party…putting up a corn milling plant within miles of a sensitive air force base, and our agencies can’t do anything about it, we need to give them the authority,” continued Tester. “We need to make sure that this doesn’t happen because quite honestly — and some of you know this, probably all of you know this — China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, they are not friends of ours. They want to do things to make us less than what we are today. So we shouldn’t allow these bad actors to be on our soil. Honestly, the fact is that if they’re there to have impacts on our food supply, that’s bad for business. And if they’re there to spy on us, they shouldn’t be allowed to spy on us anywhere in the world, and certainly not on our own soil.”
As the only working dirt farmer in the U.S. Senate, Tester has led the charge to combat Chinese aggression and prevent foreign adversaries from purchasing American farmland.
Tester has introduced two bipartisan bills — the Protecting America’s Agricultural Land from Foreign Harm Act and the Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act — to prohibit America’s foreign adversaries including China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia from purchasing or leasing U.S. farmland.
In July, Tester secured his bipartisan PASS Act as an amendment to must-pass annual national defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Tester’s amendment would enable CFIUS to review all significant agriculture-related foreign investments using expert data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and it will empower CFIUS to prohibit future purchases of farmland and agribusinesses by our foreign adversaries.