Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security Act sponsored by Rounds

U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) recently sponsored his chamber’s version of the Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act, which aims to prevent specific countries from threatening America’s food supply by acquiring U.S. farmland and agriculture companies.

“Protecting American farmland is critical to maintaining our national security,” Sen. Rounds said on Aug. 17. “In my travels around South Dakota, I’ve heard from many farmers and ranchers who are concerned about foreign adversaries owning American farmland. It’s time to put a stop to this and take action.”

If enacted, S. 4786, which Sen. Rounds introduced on Aug. 6, would blacklist China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea from investing in, purchasing, or otherwise acquiring land or businesses involved in American agriculture, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Rounds’ staff.

“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I was alarmed when a Chinese company recently purchased farmland near an Air Force base in North Dakota,” said Sen. Rounds. “This acquisition could threaten our national security by allowing the Chinese Communist Party to closely monitor the operations and communications at a very important military facility.”

S. 4786 is companion legislation to the same-named H.R. 8274, introduced on July 1 by U.S. Reps. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), and bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY). Sen. Rounds’ bill retains key provisions of H.R. 8274 and adds additional language related to foreign investments, agricultural land acquisition, and reporting by the U.S. Agriculture Secretary.

Specifically, the new provisions in S. 4786 would blacklist China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea from purchasing or investing in agriculture land and companies; require reporting from the Secretary of Agriculture on the risk to the American agriculture sector of foreign takeovers and/or investments in agriculture companies or land used for agricultural purposes; and allow the president to waive the requirement prohibiting a transaction on a case-by-case basis, according to the bill summary.