Missouri Republican Governor Michael Parson signed an executive order Tuesday banning foreign adversaries from purchasing land near military bases due to espionage concerns.
A press release from the governor’s office stated that Executive Order 24-01 prohibits “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.”
“Critical military facilities” encompass “all staffed military facilities” in the state, it added. Nations currently designated as foreign adversaries include China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.
Existing Missouri law limits foreign agricultural land purchases to 1% of the total farmland in the state. The office’s press release noted that the governor’s executive order aims to make those requirements more stringent, granting the Missouri Department of Agriculture additional oversight authority by requiring the department’s approval for all foreign agricultural land purchases. The MDA will receive additional funding to ensure it has the resources to enforce the new protections.
During a Tuesday press conference, Parson said, “With heightened concerns regarding ownership of Missouri farm land 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.”
“When it comes to China and other foreign adversaries, we must take commonsense precautions that protect Missourians and our security resources,” he added.
Parson clarified that his executive 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,” the press release stated.
Foreign entities have invested nearly $19 billion in Missouri over the last five years, creating roughly 150,000 jobs in the state, the governor reported.
“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,” Parson continued. “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.”
The governor remarked that the state’s laws prevent him from enforcing more stringent regulations.
“Believe me, if I had the authority, we wouldn’t just be talking about banning farm land but all commercial properties by foreign adversaries,” he added.
The U.S. Treasury Department continues to investigate California farmland purchased by China-tied investment group Flannery Associates. The group, which claims it is backed by American investors seeking to build a walkable city, dished out nearly $1 billion to acquire roughly 52,000 acres since 2017 near a military base, Blaze News previously reported.
Fairfield Mayor Catherine Moy told the New York Post in November that the purchase is still being investigated because federal government officials are “not 100% that China is not behind funding on this.”
“A couple of the investors already are very connected with China, business-wise,” she noted.
Flannery Associates told the Post that it has “no other foreign investors” other than those already disclosed to the federal government, the outlet reported.
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