On Tuesday, the state of Arkansas demonstrated its commitment to safeguarding the interests of American farmers by enforcing new regulations that require foreign-owned companies to divest themselves of farmland. This initiative, aligned with conservative principles, underscores the importance of American self-reliance and national security in a rapidly changing global landscape.
The impetus behind this legislation can be traced back to the Republican-controlled legislature and the leadership of Republican Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The lawmakers and the Governor joined forces to pass a law earlier this year that has set the stage for this significant move. Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, an advocate for the protection of domestic agriculture, cited the law when directing Northrup King Seed Co., a subsidiary of Syngenta Seeds, which is ultimately owned by the Chinese state-owned enterprise China National Chemical Company, or ChemChina, to divest 160 acres of agricultural land in Craighead County within a two-year timeframe.
Arkansas is far from alone in adopting such legislation. Currently, a staggering 24 states have embraced laws that either restrict or outright prohibit foreign entities from owning American farmland. These laws serve as a potent response to the mounting concerns surrounding investments from nations such as China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. It is imperative to ensure that American soil remains in the hands of American farmers to protect our agricultural industry and national interests.
Moreover, in line with the regulations, Arkansas law stipulates that if a company fails to comply and divest from the land, the state has the authority to initiate legal proceedings. This provision is essential to uphold the sovereignty of the state and ensure that foreign-owned entities follow the rule of law.
In another show of commitment to preserving the integrity of American agriculture, Syngenta, the parent company of Northrup King Seed Co., was also fined $280,000 by the state for its non-compliance with the reporting requirements established under a 2021 state law. The company is given 30 days to settle the fine. To rectify its oversight, Syngenta has promptly updated its filing with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reflect the change in ownership and has submitted a copy to the state.
Governor Sanders, during a news conference with Attorney General Griffin, articulated the essence of this legislative initiative: “We will make sure that every company operating in Arkansas is a friend to Arkansas and good to hard-working Arkansans.” This statement underscores the conservative perspective that America’s agricultural assets must be protected and cherished, reflecting the values of self-reliance and safeguarding the interests of hardworking citizens.