Reports say The House of Representatives in North Carolina voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill prohibiting state-controlled firms from China and other antagonistic countries from owning agricultural land or real estate near military facilities.
The North Carolina Farmland and Military Protection Act argues that state officials have an interest in protecting farmland from the potential of combative foreign government authority to guarantee a safe, affordable, and abundant supply of food for residents of the state and the nation.
Property within 25 miles of a military base or agricultural property cannot be purchased or leased by entities in which Russia, North Korea, China, Cuba, or Venezuela controls more than 50% of the shares.
According to a study from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, over 518,000 acres of farmland are now controlled by foreign organizations. Less than 1% of the land in the US is owned by Chinese entities. Thirty-two percent is owned by Canadian investors, including agricultural and non-agricultural land. And 31% is owned by citizens from various allies, such as the UK and the Netherlands.
Reports show that disputes between the US and China have been rising, with the Chinese social media platform TikTok collecting data on American citizens and spy balloons that have floated the US mainland.
However, authorities have pointed to potential threats to national security posed by the current Chinese expenditures on farmland. Farmland close to Ellsworth Air Force Base is of particular concern to South Dakota lawmakers, who took action last year to restrict Chinese corporations from acquiring land in the state.
Chinese food firm Fufeng Group purchased property outside Grand Forks Air Force Base last year, where some of the nation’s sensitive drone technology is based, raising similar worries of possible espionage.
Military installations, including Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg, were specifically named in the North Carolina Farmland and Military Protection Act as areas where organizations owned by enemy countries are prohibited from purchasing property.