Bill would create committee to investigate foreign purchases of South Dakota land
Two South Dakota lawmakers are introducing a bill that would create a board to investigate the purchase of agricultural land by foreign interests.
The "Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States – South Dakota" would review purchases and leases of land by a "foreign person, foreign government, foreign business, or any organization controlled by a foreign person, government or business" after July 1, 2023, according to the news release from Gov. Kristi Noem. Purchases previously reviewed by the federal CFIUS board could also be scrutinized.
The governor's general counsel would chair the board, which would also include the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the director of the South Dakota Office of Homeland Security. The governor would appoint two members. One would be a land owner and agricultural expert who owns at least 160 acres of land. The other would be a national security or foreign policy expert, according to Noem.
Currently, South Dakota law limits aggregate foreign ownership of agricultural land to 160 acres.
Sen. Erin Tobin. R-Winner, and Rep.-elect Gary Cammack, R-Union Center, will sponsor the legislation.
"With vital national security resources like Ellsworth Air Force Base, we cannot afford for our enemies to purchase land in South Dakota," Cammack said. "We want to keep this land in the hands of South Dakota agriculture producers. I look forward to working with Gov. Noem and my colleagues to guarantee the continued security of our state and nation."
Noem said she was concerned about national security.
"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."
Noem has raised concerns about national security and the Chinese government twice in recent weeks. The governor asked the South Dakota Investment Council last week to review all of the state's investments for any ties to what she called "nations that hate America." She was the first governor to ban the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok from all state-owned devices.