North Carolina Passes Legislation to Prevent Chinese-Controlled Enterprises from Owning Farmland

The North Carolina Farmland and Military Protection Act aims to protect state agriculture from adversarial nations

Lawmakers in North Carolina have passed a bill that aims to prevent state-controlled companies from China and other adversarial nations from owning farmland or property within 25 miles of military bases.

The North Carolina Farmland and Military Protection Act seeks to safeguard the state’s agricultural land from “the potential of adversarial foreign government control” for a secure and affordable supply of food. Entities holding over 50% of shares from China, Russia, Cuba, North Korea, or Venezuela will be barred from purchasing or leasing land in North Carolina.

North Carolina Representative Jennifer Balkcom, the primary sponsor of the bill, affirmed the importance of protecting the state’s farmland, “Our state’s agricultural land is one of our most important assets, and it is common sense that we protect it from foreign governments that do not have America’s best interests in mind.”

According to the Department of Agriculture report, China-owned entities lease slightly less than 1% of the total foreign-owned 518,000 acres of farmland in North Carolina, experiencing an increase of nearly 11,000 acres between 2019 and 2020. The purchase of agricultural land near air force bases in South Dakota and North Dakota triggered national security concerns.

The legislation also extends to property acquisitions within 25 miles of military installations, including important bases such as Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, that are under the radar of entities controlled by adversarial nations.

The National Association of Realtors’ analysis finds that Chinese entities make up 6% of foreign residential real estate acquisitions in the United States from April 2021 to March 2022, with 3% of Chinese-owned properties located in North Carolina.

Stress on espionage activities has been creating mounting tension between the US and China. Congress recently urged the Biden administration to impose sanctions on cloud services offered by Huawei and Alibaba. There are also concerns over the sensors of seaport cranes produced by ZPMC, potentially giving Chinese authorities access to data on items shipped for military purposes.