State reps tout bill to protect agricultural land

Jan. 25—AUSTIN — Uniting to protect Texas' farm and ranch land from being overtaken by hostile foreign nations, State Representatives Cody Harris, Jacey Jetton and Angie Chen Button issued a joint statement in support of House Bill 1075. The recently-filed legislation would prohibit foreign governments or any entity owned or controlled by a foreign government from purchasing agricultural land in Texas.

This legislation sprouts from a growing concern over land grabs by foreign nations, particularly those which have proven to be actively and repeatedly hostile toward America's economy, security and intellectual property.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2021 Report, over 40 million acres of agriculture land is owned by foreign nations and investors, with the pace of ownership accelerating to an average of 2.2 million acres purchased a year.

"This legislation sends a strong message to those foreign governments who constantly threaten the economic and security interests of America: we will no longer tolerate your attempts to undermine democracy — not abroad and not on our own soil," said State Rep. Cody Harris (R-Palestine), author of HB 1075. "No one wants to look up one day and see that our farmland is mostly owned or controlled by foreign governments. We are proud to protect our Texas-owned agricultural community so our farmers and ranchers can continue to earn a living, feed America, and maintain control over our food security."

Under HB 1075, all individuals and American-owned businesses will maintain their right to purchase agricultural property in the State of Texas. As filed, the legislation applies to all foreign governments or government-controlled entities equally.

"I know firsthand the dangers of a hostile foreign nation, it was because of the dangers experienced living in communist China that my family made the decision to flee to Taiwan, where the seven of us lived in a space made of bamboo and mud," State Rep. Angie Chen Button of Richardson said. "Like so many other Texans who immigrated here for a better life, I came to America because it afforded me new opportunities — opportunities including the right to own property and freely purchase a safe and stable home in which to raise my family. This legislation better equips us to protect those precious rights and keep Texas land in the hands of those who have helped build and maintain it — not those who seek to destroy it."

Various forms of prohibitions on foreign ownership of agriculture land are currently in place within 17 other states.

"No matter your race, color or creed, Texas remains open for business to all freedom-loving people, State Rep. Jacey Jetton of Fort Bend said. "We welcome all United States citizens and lawful permanent residents with full hearts and open arms. We are also putting those who willfully align themselves with these enemy states on notice. We will fully protect the American Dream here in Texas."