Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson issued an executive order banning “individuals and businesses from nations designated as foreign adversaries from purchasing agricultural land within a 10-mile radius of critical military facilities in the State of Missouri.”

Parson announced the executive order Tuesday during a press conference with Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn, Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten, and Missouri National Guard Adjutant General Levon Cumpton.

“With heightened concerns regarding ownership of Missouri farm land by foreign adversaries, especially China, we are signing this order to safeguard our military and intelligence assets, prevent security threats to our state, and give Missourians greater peace of mind,” Parson said.

“When it comes to China and other foreign adversaries, we must take commonsense precautions that protect Missourians and our security resources,” he continued.

“I applaud Governor Parson for taking this critical step forward to protect Missourians, our military assets, and critical infrastructure against China and other foreign adversaries, all while respecting our strong relationships with international allies and economic partners,” Lt. Governor Kehoe said.

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“China is our nation’s most hostile foreign adversary, and Missouri cannot allow individuals and companies associated with the Chinese Communist Party to buy and exploit Missouri land,” he added.

From the Office of Governor Michael L. Parson:

Executive Order 24-01 bans any citizen, resident, or business from a foreign adversary, outlined in 15 C.F.R § 7.4, from owning or acquiring Missouri agriculture land within 10 miles of critical military facilities. Nations currently classified as foreign adversaries include China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.

For the purposes of this order, “critical military facilities” refers to all staffed military facilities in Missouri. The order does not affect existing landowners.

Currently, foreign agricultural land purchases are capped at one percent of the total agricultural land across the state, as outlined in state statute, Section 442.571, RSMo. Executive Order 24-01 creates more stringent requirements for these land purchases and requires approval from the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) prior to any foreign acquisitions of agricultural land. The order also requires disclosing certain information to MDA prior to any foreign entity acquiring Missouri agricultural land. Specifics can be found in the Executive Order.

These additional requirements will help inform MDA personnel as to whether an agriculture land purchase by a foreign alien or business should be approved or denied. Governor Parson will also include funding in his upcoming Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 supplemental budget and his FY 2025 budget to ensure MDA has the necessary resources and staff to enforce these protections.

During the press conference, Governor Parson made clear that his order does not impact Missouri’s valued economic partnerships with foreign allies, including Israel, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan, among many others that have a longstanding presence in Missouri and employ thousands of Missourians.

In the last five years alone, foreign investment in Missouri has totaled nearly $19 billion and directly supported close to 150,000 Missouri jobs.

“There are numerous Missouri employers from friendly nations that we have strong economic relationships with, and we must ensure we are not disrupting Missouri’s economy or Missourians’ lives and livelihoods. Commonsense decisions and a balanced approach must always win, and Missouri must remain open for business to our allies,” Governor Parson said. “As such, we believe this order, with the authority we have, sufficiently protects Missouri’s security interests from potential bad actors while not punishing our allies for being good economic partners or upstanding individuals fleeing oppression and coming to our nation legally in search of a better life.”

Springfield News-Leader reports:

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson took action to restrict foreign farmland ownership near military facilities on Tuesday, just one day before the 2024 legislative session was set to begin.

Many lawmakers have filed legislation containing similar bans, though some of those bills call for more drastic action than Parson is allowed to take in an executive order.

“Believe me, if I had the authority, we wouldn’t just be talking about banning farm land but all commercial properties by foreign adversaries, regardless of rural or urban,” Parson said. “Because a commercial building in our urban areas in the hands of China poses just as much, if not more, of a threat to our security interests than a rural farm.”

Executive Order 24-01 bans nations considered foreign adversaries, such as China, from owning any Missouri agricultural land within 10 miles of any of the state’s critical military facilities. Apart from China, other countries listed as adversaries include Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela.

Additionally, Parson’s executive order would give more oversight authority of foreign owned farmland to the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Going forward, the state would examine and approve any foreign land purchases.

Parson is recommending adding $200,000 to the state budget to ensure that the Department of Agriculture has adequate staffing and resources to conduct this oversight.

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