Rep. Dusty Johnson Warns Against America’s ‘Enemies’ Taking Over Agriculture

During an interview with South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) warned about the danger of allowing China to increase its involvement in U.S. agriculture following news that a Chinese company had purchased land 20 minutes from a U.S. Air Force base just weeks prior.

In the interview, the South Dakota Republican discussed the dangers of letting “legitimate villains” like communist China gain access to American agricultural companies and farmland.

“Food security is national security,” Johnson stated. “When it comes to people who announce themselves as enemies of the United States, we should not be giving them power over us.”

The GOP congressman went on to say that it was essential to “decouple” critical industries, such as healthcare, energy and agriculture, from our adversaries like China who are attempting to displace the U.S. on the world stage.

Johnson’s remarks follow reports of Chinese companies purchasing farmland across the United States. The congressman responded to those reports, pointing out that a similar situation would not have been allowed to happen during the Cold War, comparing our current rivalry with China to the situation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the past conflict.

“I don’t think we would have let, in the 1980s, the Soviets come in and purchase critical parts of American infrastructure, particularly related to food. I don’t think we should let the Chinese do it now either,” Johnson said.

The South Dakota congressman went on to tout legislation he is co-sponsoring in the House alongside House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act, which Stefanik introduced earlier this month. The legislation would ban countries like China, Iran, Russia and North Korea from purchasing American agricultural companies.

“China’s efforts to influence American agriculture threatens U.S. security – this bill is common sense,” Johnson noted. “We have experienced numerous black swan events in the past few years, and we can’t risk allowing our adversaries closer access to our food and supply chains.”

Johnson’s comments come after reporting earlier this month revealed that the Fufeng Group, a Chinese flavor and sugar substitute company, bought 300 acres of land in North Dakota located only 20 minutes from Grand Forks Air Force base. According to reporting from the New York Post, the base is believed to contain sensitive military drone technology.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) expressed suspicion regarding the purchase.

“I think we grossly underappreciated how effective they are at collecting information, collecting data, using it in nefarious ways,” the senator told CNBC. “And so I’d just as soon not have the Chinese Communist Party doing business in my backyard.”