Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Sherrod Brown introduced on Tuesday a new bill that would prevent foreign individuals from obtaining credit and financial services through the Farm Credit System (FCS). Currently, certain foreign individuals and entities are eligible to receive credit through this government-sponsored enterprise.
Said Grassley in a new release: “The expansion of foreign-owned farmland is a justified cause for concern among many family farmers and ranchers. It poses a potential threat to our domestic food supply, and by extension, to our national security. Building on my previous efforts to get a better handle on foreign-owned farmland, our bill will ensure no foreign investors can use loans from a government-sponsored entity to buy up valuable acres. This is a commonsense step to ensure foreign buyers, like those backed by China, aren’t taking prime land away from American family farmers with help from the U.S. government."
Added Brown: “We created the Farm Credit System to ensure farmers and agriculture workers in Ohio and across the country have access to affordable credit – not to benefit foreign investors and hostile governments. Foreign governments, especially China, have bought up prime farmland across this country at an alarming rate for decades. This will put in place a clear standard: American taxpayer dollars should not be used as a financing tool for foreign governments to undermine our national security and take our family farms.”
FCS was established in 1916 to provide credit to rural areas when commercial lenders were avoiding farm loans. It is mandated and limited by statute to serve agriculture. In 2021, FCS had a portfolio of roughly $210 billion in farm loans.
Since 1997, Farm Credit Administration (FCA) regulations have allowed FCS associations to extend credit to certain foreign nationals who are not permanent residents of the United States and to foreign-owned entities. Grassley and Brown’s bipartisan Farm Credit for Americans Act would make foreign individuals and entities, as defined by the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act, ineligible for financing through the FCS.
Grassley was the original author of the Agriculture Foreign Investment Disclosure Act, which requires foreign nationals to report their U.S. agricultural holdings to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Alongside Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Grassley recently introduced the Farmland Security Act to increase scrutiny over foreign investments in American agricultural land. Last year, Grassley also introduced the Food Security is National Security Act to give top U.S. agriculture and food officials permanent representation on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).