Noem proposes bill to restrict foreign purchases of agricultural land

The proposal is the latest by Noem to restrict the influence and presence of the Chinese government in the Rushmore state.
Gov. Kristi Noem delivers her budget address in Pierre.
Gov. Kristi Noem delivers her budget address in Pierre.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 2:52 PM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. - Governor Kristi Noem is continuing to take shots at the Chinese Government, announcing Tuesday that she will be proposing legislation next year to limit the purchase of agricultural land by certain entities from foreign countries.

“We cannot allow the Chinese Communist Party to continue to buy up our nation’s food supply, so South Dakota will lead the charge on this vital national security issue,” said Noem.

The prime sponsors on Noem’s proposal are Representative-elect Gary Cammack (R-Union Center) and Sen. Erin Tobin (R-Winner). Both have backgrounds in agriculture.

“For those of us who have lived and worked on the land, we know that it’s our past, but also our future,” Tobin said in a press release. “We grow the world’s food, and we need to protect the security of that food supply for our kids.”

The plan creates a new board, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States- South Dakota (CFIUS-SD), which would investigate proposed purchases of ag land by foreign interests and recommend either approval or denial to the Governor.

That board would consist of Governor’s General Counsel, who would serve as chair, the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR), and the Director of the South Dakota Office of Homeland Security, a part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety. The board would then include two governor’s appointees: an agricultural industry expert who owns at least 160 acres of agricultural land in the state, and a national or state security or foreign policy expert.

“With this new process, we will be able to prevent nations who hate us, like Communist China, from buying up our state’s agriculture land,” Noem said. “We cannot allow the Chinese Communist Party to continue to buy up our nation’s food supply, so South Dakota will lead the charge on this vital national security issue.”

Two weeks ago, Noem signed an Executive Order banning TikTok from South Dakota state government devices, which spurned a number of Governors from across the country to follow suit. Since then, the number of states banning TikTok for state governments has risen to eight. Similar legislation is being considered at the federal level. Last week, Noem asked the South Dakota Investment Council to review its investments to determine if any are funding international companies that she believes pose a threat to our national security.

Noem joins Rep. Dusty Johnson and Sen. Mike Rounds in looking to restrict China’s ability to buy land and other assets in South Dakota. Johnson is currently the co-sponsor on a bill that would blacklist China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea from purchasing U.S. agriculture companies. A bill introduced by Rounds goes a step further than Noem or Johnson’s proposals, blacklisting China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from purchasing or investing in agriculture land and companies.

“With vital national security resources like Ellsworth Air Force Base, we cannot afford for our enemies to purchase land in South Dakota,” said Cammack. “We want to keep this land in the hands of South Dakota agriculture producers. I look forward to working with Governor Noem and my colleagues to guarantee the continued security of our state and nation.”

A draft of Noem’s legislation will likely be available in the beginning of January.