Parson Not On Board With Forcing Divestment Of Foreign Land Ownership

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says one proposal dealing with foreign ownership of the state’s agricultural lands could upset trade relationships with some of America’s allies.  Speaking after his remarks Monday at Missouri Farm Bureau’s annual meeting, Parson said lawmakers need to “be smart” about how to tackle the issue.

A constitutional amendment pre-filed by Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring) would force foreign companies to sell any ag land they own, potentially impacting Chinese-owned subsidiaries including Smithfield Foods and Syngenta, as well as German chemical giants Bayer and BASF.  Syngenta is already facing the divestment of its research fields in Northeast Arkansas after a similar law took effect there.  However, Parson agrees that lawmakers and his office need to address the presence of land owned by foreign firms critical of America’s national interests.

Foreign ag land ownership allowed in Missouri was increased to a maximum of one percent of the state’s acreage in 2013, after lawmakers overrode then-Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of an ag omnibus bill which contained the expanded cap.