(Congress Report) – The state of Virginia is showing the rest of the country what it looks like to fight for the sovereignty of our great nation and to prevent foreign entities and nations from weaseling their way into positions of power in the United States by banning them from purchasing agricultural land in the commonwealth after lawmakers serving in the House of Delegates and Senate gave their stamp of approval on versions of the proposal and then forwarded the measure to GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin to be signed into law. Once it is signed, it would retroactively go into effect from Jan. 1.
This ban would include China, who has been going on a spending spree to buy up farm land here in the United States, which poses a significant risk to our national security, especially after the whole spy balloon incident that unfolded a few weeks back.
“Virginians—not the CCP [Chinese Communist Party]—should own the rich and vibrant agricultural lands God has blessed us with. That is why I am asking the General Assembly to send me a bill to prohibit dangerous foreign entities tied to the CCP from purchasing Virginia farmland,” Youngkin stated during his State of the Commonwealth address that kicked off the beginning of the 2023 legislative session. “The stakes are too high, and the consequences are too great.”
According to The Epoch Times, “The law will also require Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to publish an annual report of foreign land ownership to the governor and General Assembly. The inaugural report is due on the VDACS website by July 1. The law, once enacted, won’t affect any transactions that were completed before this year.”
The commonwealth’s definition of foreign adversaries is similar to the designation developed by the Department of Commerce. Along with prohibiting China from snapping up land, the ban also includes Cuba, Russia, North Korea, and one politician from Venezuela.
At the end of 2021, Chinese entities owned a whopping 14,000 acres of agricultural land in Virginia, as per data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Most of that land is connected to the purchase of Smithfield Foods, Inc. back in 2013. Smithfield is the largest pork producer in the country.
“However, foreign land ownership reporting to the USDA has been largely an honor system; the reporting requirements aren’t always enforced. While the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act stipulates that the penalty for failing to report foreign land ownership can be as much as a quarter of the property’s market value, in reality, the USDA often reduces the penalty amount significantly because of concern over disincentivizing filing,” The Epoch Times noted.
The article continued, “For example, the resulting fine for a Chinese company’s failure to report a land purchase associated with the Blue Hills Wind Farm project in Texas was slashed to $120,000 from $21 million.”
Information from the Arkansas National Agricultural Law Center shows that as of the end of February, there are a total of 28 states that do not have any sort of restrictions on the books preventing foreign ownership of agricultural land. The prohibition in Virginia is focused on agricultural land, there are currently proposals in both Texas and Florida that are seeking to limit Chinese real estate purchases of any kind, including farm land.
Rather than focus on acreage, Youngkin made it a point to emphasize military assets in the commonwealth.
“In Virginia, we’re standing up strong,” he said during an interview with Fox News on Feb. 26. “We’re going to make sure that our agricultural farmland is not purchased by the CCP.”
He added, “We’ve got a bill now through on a bipartisan basis that I will sign that will keep China from buying our agricultural farmland, particularly next to our national strategic assets like the Pentagon, Quantico, and the largest naval base in the world. We’re going to make sure that we keep these national strategic assets safe.”
Macaulay Porter, a spokeswoman for the Virginia governor, went on to say the measure will be signed into law over the course of the next few weeks.
“The governor has been clear since day one that Virginians, their tax dollars, and their farmland should not enrich the CCP or dangerous foreign entities at the expense of national security,” she informed The Epoch Times in a statement via email.
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