(PresidentialHill.com)- With recent approvals in the House of Delegates and Senate, the resolution to prohibit foreign foes like China from purchasing agricultural property in Virginia has been delivered to Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin for his anticipated signing. The prohibition would go into force on January 1.
This year, Youngkin’s primary legislative priority is enacting a ban on Chinese purchases of agricultural property in Virginia.
Youngkin has stated that the agricultural fields God has given us should belong to Virginians, not the Chinese Communist Party.
In his State of the Commonwealth speech delivered at the opening of the 2023 legislative session, Youngkin urged the General Assembly to send him a law to prevent harmful foreign organizations related to the CCP from owning Virginia farms. He said the risks and the potential payoffs are too significant at this point.
The law states that foreign land ownership in Virginia shall be reported annually to the governor and General Assembly by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). By July 1st, the first report must be posted on the VDACS website. Existing contracts will not be voided once the bill is passed.
Virginia adopts the Department of Commerce’s classification of foreign enemies. A politician from Venezuela is on the list, with those from China, Cuba, Russia, and North Korea.
In 2021, Chinese companies controlled around 14,000 acres of farmland in Virginia, according to the USDA (USDA). This is primarily attributable to the company’s 2013 acquisition of the biggest pork producer in the United States, Smithfield Foods Inc.
Unfortunately, the USDA’s reporting rules regarding foreign property owners have generally been left unenforced, leaving the system dependent on the good faith of those involved. While the maximum penalty for failing to record foreign land ownership as required by the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act is 25% of the property’s market value, the USDA often cuts the penalty substantially out of concern about disincentivizing repoFor.
As an example, a $21 million punishment for a Chinese company’s failure to register a property transaction related to the Blue Hills Wind Farm project in Texas was reduced to only $120,000.
According to the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas, 28 states do not have any prohibitions on foreign ownership of agricultural land. Virginia will soon make it illegal for Chinese organizations to possess any part of the state’s farmland, while in Texas and Florida, lawmakers are looking to limit the acquisition of any kind of property by Chinese nationals, including farms.