As tensions between China and the U.S. rise, Democrat U.S. Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania brought attention to China’s purchases of American farmland.

“The Chinese government and other US adversaries should own zero, zero agricultural land in our country. I believe that,” said Fetterman.

He suggested America reclaim its farmland.

“I mean, they’re taking back our pandas. You know, we should take back all their farmland,” said Fetterman.

China is indeed recalling all three of the panda bears currently living in the Smithsonian National Zoo. Two of the pandas have been on loan to the U.S. since 2000, and the third was born in the National Zoo. However, all three are slated to return to China by December 7.

While China recalls its property, it’s also buying up American land. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Chinese firms and investors have bought 383,935 acres of U.S. land.

Some of that land was bought in Texas, near Laughlin Air Force base, and more in North Dakota near Grand Forks Air Force base.

Austin attorney Adam Loewy explained, “This is a real issue.”

He said a “[fr]iend of mine works for a military contractor and part of his job is to help buy land around Air Force bases. He was dealing w[ith] a situation in another state where all the land was suddenly bought up by LLCs that they eventually tied to China.”

Senate Bill 147 by Texas State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R–Brenham) 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.

SB 147 didn’t name specific countries, but the measure was designed to apply to all countries listed in the previous three Annual Threat Assessments of the U.S. Intelligence Community. Currently, the measure would apply to China, North Korea, Iran, and Russia.

Despite public interest in protecting Texas’ land and resources, State Rep. Todd Hunter (R–Corpus Christi), who chairs the House State Affairs Committee, never gave SB 147 a hearing.

Advocates have asked that the ban be included in a special legislative session call later this year.

Sydnie Henry

A born and bred Texan, Sydnie serves as the Managing Editor for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Patrick Henry College with a B.A. in Government and is utilizing her research and writing skills to spread truth to Texans.