Arkansas is ordering a Chinese company to divest its agriculture land, the first major action since the state passed legislation restricting ownership of land by hostile foreign actors.
Meanwhile, similar legislation has stalled in Texas.
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Attorney General Tim Griffin announced the action against Northrup King Seed, which is owned by China National Chemical Company. Under the state’s new law the company will have two years to divest itself of 160 acres of agricultural land.
“For far too long, we’ve tolerated dangerous governments infiltrating our country. Arkansas will not tolerate them any longer,” said Sanders. “Today, I announced that Arkansas is becoming the first state in the nation to force a Chinese state-owned company to sell its American farmland.”
Meanwhile, in Texas, similar legislation has hit a roadblock in the Texas House.
Polling shows that 82 percent of Republican voters in Texas would support a ban on Chinese land purchases in the state.
During the regular legislative session earlier this year, State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R–Brenham) proposed a law—Senate Bill 147—that would have banned the ownership of Texas’ agricultural land, mineral interests, and timber by citizens, companies, or governmental entities of countries designated by the federal government as threats to U.S. national security.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Chinese firms and investors have bought 383,935 acres of U.S. land.
In 2021, for example, 130,000 acres in South Texas near Laughlin Air Force Base were purchased by a former member of the Chinese communist army.
In January, Gov. Greg Abbott signaled his support for a ban on Chinese land ownership. But while the legislation passed the Senate, it was killed in the House after it was never given a hearing by State Rep. Todd Hunter (R–Corpus Christi), who chairs the House State Affairs Committee.
Since then, it has not been added to any of the three special session agendas, though Abbott can add any issues he chooses to the call at any time.