July 27, 2022

Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security Act introduced

Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security Act introduced

By: Sydney Sheffield

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Congressman Rick Crawford (R-AR) recently introduced the Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act. PASS is said to prevent foreign adversaries from taking any ownership or control of the United States’ agriculture industry.

“Food security is national security, and I am proud to stand up against our foreign adversaries as they attempt to exploit any potential vulnerability and assert control over our agriculture industry,” Stefanik said in a press release. “The United States cannot allow malign ownership bids of American assets by China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea to undermine the efforts of our farmers, whose hard work feeds and fuels our communities. Especially as we witness the devastating impact of a supply chain crisis, the United States cannot cede any ownership of our food supply to those who do not share our security interests.”

As a response to reports of China threatening America’s food supply by acquiring U.S. farmland and agriculture companies, the legislators state the bill will ensure the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is fully involved in reviewing foreign adversaries’ acquisition of American companies that may affect the domestic agriculture sector. USDA reported in 2019, that foreign persons and entities held an interest in 35.2 million acres of U.S. agricultural land, accounting for 2.7% of all privately owned agricultural land.

The Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act:

  • Blacklists China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea from purchasing U.S. agriculture companies
  • Includes agriculture and biotechnology related to agriculture as critical infrastructure,
  • Adds the Secretary of Agriculture as a standing member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to consider agriculture needs when making determinations affecting our national security
  • Requires reporting from the Secretary of Agriculture on the risk of foreign purchases of agriculture companies to the American agriculture sector

“Adversarial nations, like China, continue to threaten our homeland, using tactics like buying American agriculture companies and stealing agriculture research to undermine our economy,” Crawford said. “Washington must realize that agriculture security is national security, and we have a duty to protect our food supply and those who produce it. I’m proud to work with Rep. Stefanik to draw attention to this critical threat and seek to defend American agriculture.” 

Read the bill here.