Following other state’s examples, Missouri’s Governor Mike Parson has announced a ban on foreign purchases of agricultural land in Missouri by “China and other adversarial nations.”
Parson announced the ban on Tuesday during a press conference at the State Capitol, issuing Executive Order 24-01. The new order explicitly bans individuals and businesses from nations designated as foreign adversaries from purchasing agricultural land within a 10-mile radius of critical military facilities in the State of Missouri.
“With heightened concerns regarding ownership of Missouri farmland by foreign adversaries, especially China, we are signing this order to safeguard our military and intelligence assets, prevent security threats to our state, and give Missourians greater peace of mind,” Governor Parson said. “When it comes to China and other foreign adversaries, we must take commonsense precautions that protect Missourians and our security resources.”
Executive Order 24-01 bans any citizen, resident, or business from a foreign adversary, outlined in 15 C.F.R § 7.4, from owning or acquiring Missouri agriculture land within 10 miles of critical military facilities. Nations currently classified as foreign adversaries include China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.
For this order, “critical military facilities” refers to all staffed military facilities in Missouri. The order does not affect existing landowners.
Foreign agricultural land purchases are currently capped at one percent of the total agricultural land across the state, as outlined in state statute, Section 442.571, RSMo. Executive Order 24-01 creates more stringent requirements for these land purchases and requires approval from the Missouri Department of Agriculture before any foreign acquisitions of agricultural land. The order also requires disclosing certain information to MDA before any foreign entity acquires Missouri agricultural land. Specifics can be found in the Executive Order.
During the press conference, Governor Parson clarified that his order does not impact Missouri’s valued economic partnerships with foreign allies, including Israel, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan, among many others that have a longstanding presence in Missouri and employ thousands of Missourians.
In the last five years alone, foreign investment in Missouri has totaled nearly $19 billion and directly supported close to 150,000 Missouri jobs.
“There are numerous Missouri employers from friendly nations that we have strong economic relationships with, and we must ensure we are not disrupting Missouri’s economy or Missourians’ lives and livelihoods. Commonsense decisions and a balanced approach must always win, and Missouri must remain open for business to our allies,” Governor Parson said. “As such, we believe this order, with the authority we have, sufficiently protects Missouri’s security interests from potential bad actors while not punishing our allies for being good economic partners or upstanding individuals fleeing oppression and coming to our nation legally in search of a better life.”
According to the USDA, foreign investors own about 3.4 percent of privately held U.S. agricultural land, including 474,000 acres in Missouri.
Currently, fourteen states, primarily across the Midwest and Plains, restrict or prohibit foreign farmland ownership.
»Related: House bill amendment targets U.S. farmland purchases by American adversaries