Chinese firm Shuanghui acquired more than 146,000 acres of farmland across the U.S. worth more than $500 million when it purchased U.S. pork producer Smithfield Foods in 2013, and ownership by Chinese companies may increase before the year is over according to the report.
Foreign companies have been investing in U.S. farmland at a record pace according to the report, with the amount of land owned by foreign interests doubling from 13.7 million acres to 27.3 million acres from 2004 and 2014 and the value of that farmland jumping from $17.4 billion (in today’s dollars) to $42.7 billion during that same time period.
The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“The more control foreign interests have in our food system, the less control we have, obviously,” said Tim Gibbons, a director for the Missouri Rural Crisis Center in Columbia. “I think it’s a national security concern.”
“When foreign entities buy farmland, my assumption is that we’re never going to get that farmland back,” added Gibbons. “They’re going to keep it forever.”